Woman of the Day – Zora Neale Hurston

Green Party Women Celebrating Women’s History Month Day 5: Zora Neale Hurston #ForWomenAndPlanet

On March 5 1975, writer Alice Walker published ‘In Search of Zora Neale Hurston’ in an issue of Ms. Magazine. This article revived an interest in the works of Zora Neale Hurston.

With an extensive knowledge of Black folklore, culture, and hoodoo, Zora offered unprecedented anecdotes of the Black experience in the African Diaspora. Zora was a prolific writer and created dozens of works including novels, short stories, and essays and is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.

Born on January 7, 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama, Zora went on to become the first Black woman to graduate from Barnard College, New York City where she studied cultural anthropology.

During her time as a student in New York City, Zora became friends with other writers including Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. Along with her friends, she later became an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

In her lifetime Zora gained recognition receiving the Guggenheim Fellowship for creative arts US & Canada Award in 1936 and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-fiction in 1943. Posthumously in 2003 she received the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Musical. She now has an award named after her, the Zora Neale Hurston Award given by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) to those who have demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature.

Zora was not only a writer, but she also dedicated her life to educating others about the arts. In 1934, she established a school of dramatic arts at Bethune-Cookman College and also worked as a drama teacher.

Despite her successes, she was often underpaid and spent her life in debt and poverty.

After years of writing, she entered the St. Lucie County Welfare Home because she was unable to take care of herself.

Hurston died of heart disease on January 28, 1960 and tragically her remains were placed in an unmarked grave. As part of her research for ‘In Search of Zora Neale Hurston’, Alice Walker located Zora’s grave and created a marker for her.

“I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.”






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