Zora Neale Hurston

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Zora Neale Hurston

Francisco Zuniga, Staff Writer

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Zora Neale Hurston was born on January 7, 1891, Alabama, and was an American folklorist and writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance who celebrated the African American culture of the rural South. After moving to Eatonville at the age of 10, she attended to school until the age of 13. Her life became more difficult after her mother passed away and when she was 16, she joined a traveling theatrical company and this made her way to New York during the Harlem Renaissance. She went to Howard University from 1921 to 1924, and in 1925, she won a scholarship to Barnard College, where she studied anthropology. She graduated from Barnard in 1928 and then she went to Columbia University for two years to pursue graduate studies in anthropology. By 1934, she published her first novel called “Jonah’s Gourd Vine.” For a number of years, she was the faculty of North Carolina for Negroes in Durham.

Hurston became a significant contributor of the Harlem Renaissance and an honest voice for black experience of her time. She is best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, which narrates main character Janie Crawford’s “ripening from a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny.” As a young woman, who is fair-skinned with long hair, she expects more out of life, but comes to realize that people must learn about life ‘fuh theyselves’ (for themselves), just as people can only go to God for themselves. Set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century, the novel was initially poorly received, but today, it has come to be regarded as a seminal work in both African-American literature and women’s literature. Zora Neale Hurston died January 28, 1960 at Fort Pierce, Florida.

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