On March 21, 1924, the National Urban League, spearheaded by Charles Johnson, held a dinner to introduce new literary talent to New York City's black community. This dinner party resulted in the Survey Graphic, a magazine whose attention was upon social and cultural pluralism, to publish a special Harlem edition, which would feature the works of Harlem's black writers and was to be edited by Alain Locke. Locke, a literary scholar, black philosopher, professor and authority on black culture, later expanded the Harlem special edition of the Survey Graphic into and anthology he titled The New Negro. Soon, the very cultural movement Survey Graphic hoped to shine light upon would be recognized as the New Negro Movement but later this movement later grew to be known as the Harlem Renaissance (wikipedia). From this cultural movement, an identity would grow. Represented in the writing and the ideas disseminating from Harlem at the time, the Harlem Renaissance has grown to represent a period of unparalleled progressive thought as well as the introduction of black ideas and art into American culture. No longer were Black writers imitating a white style of writing. An expression of black culture represented an equality and a pride in a race that for hundreds of years was supposedly second-class. This movement spawned the some of the most acclaimed African-American authors to date such as Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman as well as Zora Neale Hurston; one of the most infamous and revolutionary authors the Harlem Renaissance would produce.
Understanding the ideals and themes of Zora Neale Hurston comes with an understanding of the upbringing and childhood she had. Born on the seventh of January 1981 in Notasluga, Alabama, Zora Neale Huston was the fifth of eight children by John Hurston and Lucy Ann Potts. John Hurston was a sharecropper, carpenter and Baptist preacher while Hurston's mother, Lucy Ann Potts, was a schoolteacher. At the age of three... [continues]
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