- Hurston, Zora Neale
- (1891-1960)Born in Alabama, African American novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston grew up in Florida in a community she later turned into a subject of her writing. Hurston attended Howard University from 1919 to 1923 and then Barnard College in New York City where she studied with anthropologist Franz Boas. She later began but did not complete a Ph.D. at Columbia University. Joining the growing literary movement of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston published a number of short stories in magazines like Opportunity and several pieces on southern folklore based on her fieldwork in Florida and other parts of the South. Her first novel, Jonah’s Gourd Vine, was published in 1934. Her second book, Mules and Men (1935), is based on her field trips. Hurston’s most acclaimed novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, appeared in 1937 and focuses particularly on the plight of black women. Moses, Man of the Mountains (1939) is a version of the book of Exodus written in black vernacular. Dust Tracks on the Road (1942) is an autobiographical work. Although Hurston continued to publish in newspapers and journals through the 1950s, her career declined from the 1940s onward, and she died in relative obscurity. Author Alice Walker, who did much to inspire a revival of Hurston’s work in the 1970s, subsequently found and marked her grave.See also Literature and theater.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.