Zora Neale Hurston Biography And The Story Of Zora Neale Hurston Life And Work

Zora Neal Hurston is an anthropologist, folklorist, and author from the United States. Her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is her best-known work, though she published over 50 plays, essays, and short stories.

She documented Voodoo practices, rituals, and beliefs in Haiti in 1937. “Tell My Horse,” her first-person account of the voodoo mysteries, was released in 1938.

The Beginning of Zora Neale Hurston’s Life

On January 7, 1891, Zora Neale Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama. Her mother, Lucy Ann, was a teacher at the nearby school, and her father, John Hurston, was a Baptist preacher, carpenter, and tenant farmer. She was the fifth of eight children. When Zora was only three years old, the family relocated from Alabama to Eatonville in Florida, one of the first autonomous all-black municipalities in the country. Zora claimed that Eatonville was her “home,” and she occasionally asserted that it was where she was born.

After the death of Zora Hurston’s mother in 1904, her father wed Matte Moge. Hurston’s parents sent her away to boarding school for a brief period, and in her 1928 essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” she later wrote about her childhood experiences. After leaving school, Hurston worked as a maid for the lead singer of a traveling Gilbert and Sullivan theater company.

Zora Neale Hurston Biography

Hurston studied at Morgan College in 1917, a historic all-black high school in Baltimore, Maryland, and a division of Morgan State University. After graduating in 1918, she enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she joined the Zeta Phi Beta sorority as an early member. She took Greek, Spanish, English, and public speaking classes in addition to contributing to the founding of the school newspaper, The Hilltop. In 1920, Hurston graduated with an associate’s degree. Her short story “John Redding Goes to Sea,” which she wrote a year later, earned her membership in the Stylus, the Alaine Locke literary club.

Hurston left Howard in 1924, and in 1925, she attended Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City on a scholarship. She studied under Franz Boas there and graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology in 1928 when she was 37. Hurston also worked on several anthropological projects with Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict.

In 1927, Howard married jazz musician Herbert Sheen, a former classmate of Howard. He later pursued a medical career, but their marriage fell apart, and they divorced in 1931. Howard married Albert Price in 1939, eight years later, while the Works Progress Administration still employed her. The marriage lasted just seven months and ended because he was 25 years her junior.

She spent her later years teaching at the North Carolina College for Negroes and writing. In Florida’s Bethune-Cookman College, she founded a school for dramatic arts in 1934. The college honored her contribution with a prize in 1956.

Zora Neale Hurston’s Work

Hurston traveled widely, especially to the Caribbean and the American South, where she conducted anthropological research and immersed herself in the customs and culture of the region. Her 1935 collection of African American folklore, “Mules and Men,” published in the American South under the sponsorship of wealthy philanthropist Charlott Osgood Mason, was based on her research.

She traveled to Jamaica and Haiti between 1936 and 1937 on an expedition funded by the Guggenheim Foundation, where she studied and engaged in Voodoo rituals and practices. “Tell My Horse,” her first-person account of the voodoo mysteries, was released in 1938.

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Zora Neale Hurston Remarked

In terms of the world, it is the ‘old, old mysticism.’ The religion of creation and life is voodoo. The sun, the water, and other natural forces are worshipped, but the symbolism is no more or less understood than in other religions.

When Hurston returned to America in 1938, she began working for the Federal Writers’ Project, which gathered data for Florida’s historical and cultural repository.

Later Years Of Zora Neale Hurston

Hurston relocated to Honduras in 1947 to explore Mayan ruins and culture. She was, however, falsely accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy in 1948. Even though the case was dropped, this slanderous accusation shook her personal life.

Her final years were spent as a freelance writer for periodicals and newspapers. She relocated to Fort Pierce, Florida, in 1957, where she worked in various roles, including substitute teaching.

Kamala Harris tweeted that Zora Neale Hurston’s work continues to be an influential influence decades after her death. You can see below:

Zora Neale Hurston’s Death

At 69, Zora Hurston died from hypertension-related heart disease on January 28, 1960. She was buried in Florida’s Garden of Heavenly Rest Cemetery. For a while, her grave went unmarked, but when literary critic Charlotte Hunt and author Alice Walker discovered it, they decided to dedicate a marker to Zora Neale Hurston.

She is remembered for her prodigious body of writing and her contributions to anthropology. In Fort Pierce, they celebrate her name with a 7-day event called Zora Fest, typically held at the end of April.

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