Zora Neale Hurston was born on Jan. 7, 1891. She graduated from Morgan Academy, and attended Howard University and attended Barnard College, Columbia University. Her father was a preacher, farmer, and carpenter. When she was 3 years old she moved to Eatonville, Fla., where she moved in to the first black community in America. She would include in her writings about how Eatonville was a place where black Americans could be independent and not have to deal with the prejudices of the white society.
Zora was a novelist, folklorist, and an anthropologist. She served as a typical Harlem Renaissance woman. Nora would combine her literature with anthropology. Her first short stories that caught the audience’s attention were “John Redding Goes to Sea” and “Spunk”. They appeared in black literature magazines. Several years later she produced her first novel Jonah’s Gourd Vin, which was published in 1934. She also wrote a book on an investigation of voodoo practices in black communities, which she got much praise for.
Zora died on Jan. 28, 1960, in Fort Pierce, Fla. She never wrote about the racism towards blacks, but the freedom she found in Eatonville. Her theme became popular amongst writers in the post World War II era of civil rights. Since then her influence has faded.