Zora Hurston’s Legacy

Zora Neale Hurston was an American author boasting 4 published novels and over 50 published short stories and plays, maybe best known for her novel, “The Eyes Are Watching God”. Born January 28th, 1891, she lived till the age of 67 and much of her work was revived after her death, there was even a posthumous publication of some of her unpublished work, discovered from the 1920’s, in the year 2001, namely a collection of folk tales from her manuscript called “Every Tongue Got To Confess”.

Her Early Life

Born as the fifth child of eight, Zora was the daughter of school teacher Lucy Ann Hurston and then Baptist pastor, farmer and carpenter, John Hurston. The family lived in Notasulga, Alabama which also happens to be the birth place of her father. At the age of three the family moved to Eatonville, Florida, a place that Zora considered her true home because she grew up there. In 1904, after the death of her mother and her father’s subsequent remarrying, Zora was sent away to boarding school, only to be expelled when her parents stopped paying the fees. In 1917, Hurston entered Morgan University’s high school program and graduated in 1918.


In the year 1918, Zora was accepted into Howard university where she went on to study Spanish, English, Greek and public speaking after which she wrote a short story, qualifying her to join the Alaine’s Lockley’s literary club. She was eventually offered a scholarship to study at Barnard College, where she became the first black student to enroll and spent two years as an undergrad student at Colombia University after graduating. During her time there, Zora did ethnographic research with noted anthropologist, Franz Boas.

Hurston went on to get married and divorced twice while traveling the Caribbean and South American countries conducting anthropological research, which was later used to write “Mules and Men”. She continued her travels and research, eventually writing many peaces based on her experiences in different locations. In 1948 she was accused of child molestation and though these allegations were later proven false, the damage was done and her good named tarnished. She when on to cover several stories, eventually becoming a freelance writing, working at a library and finally as a substitute teacher and maid. On January 28, 1960, Hurston died of a stroke while staying at the St. Lucie County Welfare home.


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