“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to 'jump at the sun.' We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” – Zora Neale Hurston
Alabama native Hurston - folklorist, anthropologist, and author - was born on this date in 1891 and began writing as a journalist, co-founding the Howard University student newspaper where she began her studies.
After earning a scholarship to Barnard, where she was the college’s sole Black student, her writing reputation blossomed and grew as part of the renowned Harlem Renaissance, which she helped create with fellow writer Langston Hughes.
A master of the flashback style of narration, Hurston wrote more than 50 short stories, plays and essays – most exploring or sharing the African-American experience from the last part of the 19th century through the first decades of the 20th.
She also authored 4 novels, of which she once said, “I regret all of my books.”
Her best known was the award-winning Their Eyes Were Watching God, a seminal work in both African-American and women's literature. Time magazine included the 1937 novel in its 100 best English-language novels of the last century.
A terrific researcher, she noted, “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”
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