Zora Neale Hurston "How It Feels to Be Colored Me"

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Remembered as one the of most successful and most significant African-American authors, folklorist, and anthropologists in the 20th century, Zora Neale Hurston captured the attention of others through her numerous essays, short stories, plays and novels. Born on January 7, 1891, Hurston spent most of her life in Eatonville, Florida. Her father was a preacher while her mother was a Sunday School teacher. Early in her childhood, Hurston’s mother passed and her father remarried soon after. Without the help and money from her father, Hurston struggled to finish schooling. She worked as a maid for the lead singer of Gilbert and Sullivan theatrical company.

At age 26, Hurston still had not finished high school. In 1917, she began attending a free high school in Baltimore, Maryland where she claimed her date of birth was 1901, making her 16 years old. Lucky for her, she had the looks and personality to pull it off. Hurston was also known to have “a fiery intellect, an infectious sense of humor, and ‘the gift of walking into hearts,’ as one friend put it.” Her talents paved her way into the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s, meeting the likes of famous poets such as Langston Hughes and popular singer Ethel Waters. During this time Hurston wrote her short story “Spunk,” which was selected into an anthology of African American art and literature that included Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, and Claude McKay.

Hurston attended Barnard College through scholarship. Being the only black student at the school during that time, she graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology in 1927. By 1935, she published several short stories, novels, and folklore. In the late 1930’s she published one of her greatest works, Their Eyes Were Watching God, which was about a proud and independent black woman. In the following years, Hurston published a number of her works; Tell My Horse about Caribbean voodoo practices, and Moses, Man of the Mountain, to name a few.

Being recognized as a key member...
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