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I do not mean by that the black back—side of an average town. Eatonville, Florida, is, and was at the time of my birth, a pure Negro town—charter, mayor, council, town marshal town.
Her father, John Cornelius Hurston, was the minister of one of the two churches in town and the mayor for three terms. She often changed the date of her birth, to, or —perhaps, to be thought a child of the new century or to gain an advantage in appearing younger while being older.
Hurston obscured the basic fact of her existence—that her father was from "over de creek" in Notasulga, a share—cropping former slave who married up. Later in life, Hurston would become an anthropologist and scientifically study mythology and folk tales, but early on in her life she must have had a strong sense of her own mythologizing tendencies and believed that a Story about her genesis in the first all—black town suited her purposes as a special individual.
Her biographer, Robert Hemenway, calls her "a woman of fierce independence," who "was a complex woman with a high tolerance of contradiction. Perhaps, she began her masking career on September 18,the day her mother died. Her childhood had been idyllic in Eatonville, where the family moved the year or so after Hurston was born.
In her memoir, Dust Tracks on a Road, Hurston writes of her love of nature, of books and learning, and of Story—telling. She recalls the Florida landscape: Hurston calls the years, from —14, her "haunted years," because her life was so dismal.
Unfortunately, not many records exist from this period of her life, except for the fact that she moved to Jacksonville to live with her sister, Sarah, and brother, Robert. In Jacksonville, she learned that she was "a little colored girl.
When he did not encourage her to attend high school, she ran off to become the personal maid to Miss M.
Even though Hurston was to gain her fame as a novelist, she would have loved to have made her mark as a dramatist. Her connection to the troupe ended inin Baltimore after Hurston had an appendicitis attack.
Fortunately, her sister, Sarah, was living in Baltimore and Hurston stayed on with her. She was finally able to attend school and enrolled at Morgan Academy.
After graduation inshe entered Howard University. At long last, Hurston was in a position finally to actualize her potential and associate with the brilliant minds of her generation.
Hurston also joined a literary club, sponsored by Alain Locke, who encouraged her to publish in Howard University journals. Johnson, the editor of Opportunity, a publication of the Urban League. The subject of "Drenched in Light" is Eatonville, which is, according to Hemenway, "her unique subject, and she was encouraged to make it the source of her art.
At the next Opportunity awards banquet inHurston not only won more prizes for her work, but met Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Carl Van Vechten, Fannie Hurst, and Annie Nathan Meyer—all of whom would befriend and support her in the coming decade.
Meyer, a founder of Barnard College, would assist Hurston into getting accepted into the college and awarded a scholarship. Barnard provided another turning point for Hurston. She began to study anthropology with Franz Boas, the father of modern anthropology, who believed in the distinctive culture of African Americans.Zora Neale Hurston was brilliant but flawed—she was a gifted B.S.
artist, and had no problem stretching the truth to get what she needed. She died penniless in a welfare home. Hurston seemed destined for obscurity until the writer Alice Walker launched a successful one-woman crusade to resurrect her career, decades after her death.
Hurston was closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance and has influenced such writers as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Gayle Jones, Alice Walker, and Toni Cade Bambara. In , _Ms. Magazine_ published Alice Walker's essay, "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston" reviving interest in the author.
Then the Zora Neale Hurston Trust finally found a buyer — more than 50 years after Hurston’s death in - Zora Neale Hurston - Celebrating the Culture of Black Americans In her life and in her writings, Zora Neale Hurston, with the South and its traditions as her backdrop, celebrated the culture of black Americans, Negro love and pride with a feminine perspective that .
Walker bought her a tombstone and inscribed it with the words “Zora Neale Hurston, ‘A Genius of the South,’ Novelist, Folklorist, Anthropologist.” Then she set about making sure Hurston. Now frequently anthologized, Zora Neale Hurston's short story "Sweat" was first published in Firell, a legendary literary magazine of the Harlem Renaissance, whose sole issue appeared in November /5(1).