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Profile of the Day: Zora Neale Hurston

Today we remember American author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, who was born on this day in 1891. A central figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston wrote four novels and more than 50 short stories, plays, and essays on the African-American experience.

Profile of the Day: Zora Neale Hurston

Image: Zora Neale Hurston / Library of Congress

Hurston was the fifth of eight children born to John Hurston, a Baptist preacher and carpenter, and Lucy Ann Potts, a school teacher. She was born in Notasulga, Alabama and moved as a toddler to Eatonville, Florida, one of the first all-black towns incorporated in the United States. She would later often use Eatonville as the setting for her stories.

During the 1920s, Hurston moved to Harlem and became a fixture in the community. Her apartment was a hot spot for social gatherings and she became friends with prominent poets Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. Throughout her life, Hurston promoted and studied black culture. In 1937, she published her most popular novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Sadly, Hurston died in poverty on January 28, 1960 at the age of 69 and was buried in an unmarked grave. For decades, her work remained nearly forgotten until 1975 when author Alice Walker published the article, “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston.” Two years earlier, Walker located Hurston’s grave and had a marker put in place with the inscription, “Zora Neale Hurston / A Genius of the South.”

Today, Hurston is remembered as one of the most influential African American writers of the 20th century.

Hurston’s family tree is not yet connected to the World Family Tree. Perhaps you can help expand her tree and connect her to nearly 140 million people on Geni.

View Zora Neale Hurston’s Geni Profile


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