Hurston, Zora Neale (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960), of Eatonville, Florida, born to a Baptist preacher, John Hurston and a schoolteacher, Lucy Ann Hurston, was a renowned anthropologist and writer of the twentieth century African-American literature whose works contributed much to the resurgence of interest to the African-American culture during her time. She strived hard to fight poverty and apathy to her craft in and out of the African-American community, then.Hurston’s hometown in Florida had influenced her as shown in her writings. Living in Eatonville where she observed black triumphs, she was not inculcated with inferiority. She was only thirteen when her mother died. This became the turning point of her life. Her father remarried immediately and had not enough time and money to provide for his seven children.
Restful Zora, then, had to strive for her own. At the age of 26 and still she had not finished high school, she had to feign her age ten years younger to be able to enter free public schooling (Boyd, 2007). She continued to work to support herself throughout college.In 1928, she graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Anthropology and, then, continued her research and immersion in cultural practices of the American South.
She explored and established pride of her own culture through her works that are a combination of Anthropology and literature (Women in History, 2009). In the 1920s at the peak of the New Negro Movement or the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston’s short stories gained public attention. She became one of the famous figures of the cultural movement. Some of her works include the Mule Bone (1930), Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934), Mules and Men (1935), Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Moses: Man of Mountain (1939), and Dust Tracks on a Road (1942).
Hurston’s autobiography, Dust Tracks on an Road appeared to be far from the truth based on the conditions of racism in America. The information provided by the author are said to be frequently doubtful says most of the critics. She began her autobiography in a different manner, something about falling in love which later progressed on tackling less about her literary career. Nonetheless, she presented ideas about what America, being an American, and having an American experience is. She had emphasized in her autobiography how important work was to her that she cannot give it up for marriage.
She believed that her work will not get in the way of marriage. She also mentioned about having business meetings and literary parties illustrating how those gatherings affected her.It seemed that besides work, she felt good being with people. And at the last part of her autobiography, she explained that all of us entitled to our own opinion. She demonstrated there a form of democracy, the one she used in her memoir.
Her autobiography centered on the person and the feeling of that person and not more about the social issues of her time. Also, she seemed to be telling that what is true to one may not be the truth for the other. In explaining what the truth is, she made use of an old Negro folk rhyme, which suggests the importance of one’s culture in defining an individual’s set of truths.Reference:Boyd, V. (2007).
About Zora Neale Hurston. 2007, from http://www.zoranealehurston.com/biography.htmlWomen in History. Zora Neale Hurston biography.
Last Updated: 1/25/2009. Lakewood PublicLibrary. Date accessed 4/8/2009 . <http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/hurs-zor.htm>.