Zora Neale Hurston

For History Hall of Fame Induction

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Early Life and Education

Zora Neale Hurston was born in January 1891. Both of her parents were former slaves. She attended Howard University and Barnard College and then went to graduate school at Columbia University. At this time in the 1920s, she had to work very hard to support herself as an African American woman. Also, there were not a lot of women with advanced degrees at this time, let alone African American women. During her education, she studied anthropology which is the study of human culture. She also collected legends and stories passed down, better known as folklore. Folklore gave her more inspiration to write and become more involved in the Harlem Renaissance.

~"Those that don't got it, can't show it. Those that got it, can't hide it."~

Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun

An inspirational writer

Zora Neale Hurston was a writer during the Harlem Renaissance. She knew that this was a very important time in African American history. She wanted people to realize through the arts, the importance of African American contribution to society. She needed people to understand the richness of African American culture and that when people express their culture through writing, art, etc., that they are telling a story from their experiences and that they were keeping their culture alive through this art, which exactly what she did.

~"There are years that ask questions and years that answer."~

Some of Her Most Famous Books

~"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."~

Her Legacy

Zora Neale Hurston heavily influenced many modern-day writers such as: Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Ralph Ellison. She helped define the identity of African American culture in the 20th-century. She was a very accomplished woman in a time when women were not so highly educated and highly regarded.

Later Life, Achievements, and Death

Zora Neale Hurston received an award in 1936 called the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada. In 1943, she received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for her influential book: Dust Tracks on a Road. Lastly, after her death in 2003, she received The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Musical for one of her plays: Polk County. In Zora Neale Hurston's later life, her influence in the arts and literature faded. She suffered a series of strokes and lived out the rest of her life in a nursing home. She then died in 1960 on January 28. She was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1975 Alice Walker wrote an article about Hurston in Ms. magazine, which renewed interest in Hurston's literary works.

~By Anna Sully~