Zora Neale Hurston
"Life is the flower for which
love is the honey"
Anthropologist, writer, folklorist, iconoclast, Zora Neale Hurston trod her own road in work and in life, often paying a heavy price for her individuality. A key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, collaborating with writers such as Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman, she was also an accomplished anthropologist, publishing articles and books about African-American folklore and culture. She was also the receipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for studies of Caribbean culture.
Her best known work -- Their Eyes Were Watching God ñ is the story of a black woman who learns to forge a new identity as a fulfilled and autonomous individual, without dwelling on the topic of racism. Using her anthropological training, the bookís dialogue is primarily written in phonetically spelled dialect. Published in 1937, the book was criticized by many leading black writers and intellectuals as degrading to African Americans. Her outspoken nature and controversial views led to ostracism by her community.
By the fifties, her work was out of print. Mostly forgotten, she supported herself with odd jobs and was buried in an unmarked grave in Florida. It wasnít until the seventies that her work was rediscovered. Today, Hurston is one of the most widely read writers of her time.