Zora Neale Hurston Is Born

Novelist, folklorist, dramatist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston was born on January 7, 1891, in Eatonville, Florida, the first incorporated black town in the United States.

The dialects, customs, and folklore of the people of Eatonville and of rural Florida informed Hurston's work throughout her career.

Hurston studied at Morgan Academy, the preparatory school of Morgan College, then at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She won a scholarship to Barnard College where she studied anthropology with Franz Boas and earned her bachelor of arts degree while participating in the flourishing Harlem Renaissance. She collected folklore and made recordings in Florida and other areas of the South in the late 1920s. During the Depression, she helped Alan Lomax, the son of pioneer folksong collector John Avery Lomax, document the folk music of Georgia, Florida, and the Bahamas. Later, she worked with the Federal Writer's Project interviewing Floridians about their lives and culture and recording and collecting the diverse folk songs of her native state—a project she described as "an opportunity to observe the wombs of folk culture still heavy with life."

Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Zora Neale Hurston on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.

She had been getting ready for her great journey to the horizons in search of people; it was important to all the world that she should find them and they find her. ”

— Zora Neale Hurston