Activities: Author Activities
Zora Neale Hurston - Selected Archive Items
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 Prentiss Taylor, Zora Neale Hurston,
courtesy of Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Used with the permission of the Estate of Zora Neale Hurston.
Photograph of Hurston dancing on couch. Known for her flamboyance and charisma, Hurston was sometimes urged by other artists to represent African Americans in more "dignified" ways.
 Anonymous, Their Eyes Were Watching God dustcover (1937),
courtesy of Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Zora Neale Hurston's best-known book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was criticized by some African American authors and leaders because it did not emphasize and critique racial oppression.
 Alan Lomax, African American Child Singer for Singing Games (1935),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-130896 DLC].
Girl standing in rural scene. Zora Neale Hurston was raised in Eatonville, the first all-black township in Florida, about which she wrote "The Eatonville Anthology," an anthropological narrative. Hurston spent the first years of her life unaware of the racial oppression experienced by the vast majority of southern blacks in the era. "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," Hurston's famous essay recounting this experience, sets the unapologetic, joyful, and defiant tone of much of her writing.
 Alan Lomax, Zora Neale Hurston, Rochelle French, and Gabriel Brown, Eatonville, Florida (1935),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ61-1777 DLC]. Used with the permission of the Estate of Zora Neale Hurston.
Hurston talking with residents of her all-black hometown, Eatonville. While attending Barnard, Hurston worked with renowned anthropologist Franz Boas, and in 1927, under Boas's direction, Hurston traveled to Louisiana and southern Florida to study and collect African American folktales.
 Zora Neale Hurston, Shove It Over (1933),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [AFS 3136A:1]. Used with the permission of the Estate of Zora Neale Hurston.
Under the direction of renowned anthropologist Franz Boas, Hurston traveled to Louisiana and southern Florida in 1927 to study and collect African American folktales. This lining rhythm was collected from Charlie Jones on a railroad construction camp near Lakeland, Florida. Before mechanization, songs helped coordinate workers as they aligned railroad tracks using steel "lining bars."
 R. H. Hoffman, Anthropologist Franz Boas (c. 1945),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-93360 DLC].
One of the best-known anthropologists of the twentieth century, Franz Boas taught Zora Neale Hurston and Margaret Mead. His contributions to the field include historical particularism--the idea that anthropology should focus on the uniqueness and specificity of cultures rather than universal laws.
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