Zora Neale Hurston

Born: 7th January 1891

Died: 28th January 1960

Birth Place: United States

Known for: Being an African American author and filmmaker.

While at college, she edited a newspaper with Langston Hughes.

She became a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

In 1936, she received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts.

I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands.

Zora Neale Hurston

Life story


Early years


Zora Neale Hurston is known for celebrating the African American culture of the rural South of America. She wrote novels and books about Black mythology, legends, and folklore.


As a small child, Hurst moved from Alabama to Eatonville, Florida, with her family. Eatonville was the first all-Black city in the U.S. where African Americans lived there independent of white people. At age sixteen, she joined a travelling theatre company. She ended up in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance. At this time, Black music and art was very popular. Hurston then went to Howard University from 1921 to 1924. She won a scholarship to go to Barnard College. Here, she studied anthropology, which is looking at human societies and cultures.


Black culture


Hurston studied Black culture in the South of America, as well as in Haiti, and Jamaica. She wrote a lot about Black culture, and about her own experiences of growing up as a Black person in the South.


Hurston sadly died from a stroke on 28th January 1960. There was nothing written on her grave when she died, but in 1973, writing was added. It reads “Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South”. She was given lots of awards for her work, both when she was alive and after she died.

What did Zora Neale Hurston write about? What did Zora Neale Hurston study at university? What did Zora Neale Hurston’s gravestone have written on it after 1973?

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