Today marks novelist, poet, essayist, anthropologist, and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston’s 125th birthday. She was born January 7, 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama, and died January 28, 1960. She is most famous for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, which has been adopted for TV and the stage many times over. She spent her life collecting the rich oral history of Black people in this country.
Hurston’s work reflects the complexities of Black society during the Harlem Renaissance, Great Depression and Civil Rights Era. She was a graduate of Howard University and founder of the college paper, The Hilltop. Hurston was also a graduate of Bard College and Columbia University, where she obtained her anthropology degree.
We know of her primarily for the work of author Alice Walker and her commitment to keeping Hurston’s work around for future generations. Hurston’s selected works include Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934), Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939), Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), and Seraph on the Suwanee (1948).
Hurston was a deep thinker with a lot of interesting perspectives on the world. Here are some of the best quotes that represent her personal philosophy on life:
“If I say a whole system must be upset for me to win, I am saying that I cannot sit in the game, and that safer rules must be made to give me a chance. I repudiate that. If others are in there, deal me a hand and let me see what I can make of it, even though I know some in there are dealing from the bottom and cheating like hell in other ways.”
Many took to Twitter today to recognize her great talent.
the first time i read Zora Neale Hurston i was so floored i wanted to name a child or a sandwich after her. HB, Z https://t.co/QCZi2ntduF
— Jazmine Hughes (@jazzedloon) January 7, 2016
Zora Neale Hurston is trending on her birthday! It's great to see the respect and love for her out there. Yay!
— Piper Huguley (@piperhuguley) January 7, 2016
— Ibi Zoboi (@ibizoboi) January 7, 2016
— eatwords drinkstars (@akamami) January 7, 2016