Zora Neale Hurston


Zora Neale Hurston was born to two former slaves on 7th January in 1891. It is however not clear about her birth date as she is believed to alter it at different times. It is thus not clear if she was born on the 7th January or the 15th January. She was born in Notasulga, a place she joked about when she wrote in her autobiography that dusk tracks on the roads. She later on moved to Florida while she was still a toddler. In 1904 her mother died and his pastor father remarried and Zora Neale Hurston had to move in with other family members after this.

She loved education and she took on to doing odd jobs for her upkeep and paying school fees. At some point she worked as a house help for a lady whose profession was acting. In 1920 Neale graduated with her degree in from Howard University with her first degree. Her earliest work was published in the university news paper. After a couple of years she relocated to Harlem, which is a neighborhood in New York and joined the art scene. She had interest for education and got a sponsor for her studies in anthropology at Barnard College. In 1935 she published a collection called “Mules and Men”. In addition, Neale wrote articles for magazines such as the “Journal of America folklore”. In 1937 while Zora was travelling in Haiti and also studying, she actually wrote a novel. During this year, she also visited Jamaica, a time which involved a research in anthropology. Five years later she published a controversial autobiography. This book was received well by her critics and signaled the start of a chain of bad events in both her social and professional life. For instance, in the year 1948 she faced a false accusation of molesting a boy who was ten years old. Luckily, she proved to the judge that she was not within the country during the duration when the boy was allegedly molested.

Hurston’s accomplishments did not reflect in terms of financial well being and personal life. For instance, she was not able to get a publisher for her written work. Her health deteriorated and eventually suffered stroke, which led to her living in a welfare home.

Hurston demonstrates how sometimes life in limelight can be deceptive. One can have a good life for some time then end up being poor as one gets older.