Hurston's books, short tales, and plays frequently represented black life in the South. Her anthropological research focused on black folklore. Hurston impacted countless writers, securing her position in history as one of the twentieth century's most important female writers. Her work has been credited with helping to open up literary culture to women and people of color.
In addition to publishing seven novels and two memoirs, Hurston wrote numerous essays and reviews, several of which were collected into three books. She also produced a number of plays that have been performed by black theatre companies across the United States. In 1937, Hurston co-founded the journal Black Renaissance with poet Jean Toomer. The magazine served as a forum for authors to publish their work free from academic conventions and it was through this publication that Hurston made connections with other African American writers such as Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin.
In 1938, Hurston published her first collection of stories, Tell My Horse. The book received critical acclaim and was followed by four more fiction collections over the next five years. In 1944, Hurston published Mules and Men, which included sixteen short stories written over a period of seven years. The following year she published Their Eyes Were Watching God, which became her best known work and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Hurston began writing short tales as a novelist in 1920. Unfortunately, for many years, her work was overlooked by the mainstream literary public. She did, however, establish a following among African Americans. Mules and Men was released in 1935. It is considered one of the classics of the Harlem Renaissance.
After this success, Hurston went on to write more novels, essays, and children's books. In addition to writing, she worked as a social worker during this time. She died in 1960 at the age of 65 due to complications from kidney disease.
According to the Florida Library Association, four collections of Hurston's manuscripts are held by various institutions: the University of South Florida, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, and the John F. Kennedy Library.
She wrote over 20 books, including novels, autobiographies, and children's stories. Some of her most famous works include Dust Tracks on a Road (1931), Mules and Men (1935), and Tell My Horse (1938).
Dust Tracks on a Road is the story of a black woman who travels across Florida looking for work and eventually ends up helping to build a railroad. Mules and Men is about a group of men in the South during the Great Depression who ride mules together to make money.
Zora Neale Hurston was a revolutionary in working to safeguard African Americans' rights as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. During the Harlem Renaissance, she was noted for her humor, irreverence, and folk writing style. Hurston, on the other hand, was well known for her popular books. She wrote about black life during this time period with honesty and courage; both qualities that are needed if African Americans are to advance their cause.
Hurston's work has been called "a national treasure" by Library of Congress president James H. Billington. Her novels and stories have been translated into many languages and have earned her world-wide acclaim. In 1960, she received the Nobel Prize in Literature "for her subtle observation and psychological insight into the black experience."
Although born into slavery, Hurston managed to get an education and eventually earn a master's degree from Howard University. After graduating, she worked as a social worker before joining the staff of a magazine called "The Dusty Bookstore Journal." It was there that she began to write seriously about race relations in America. Her first novel, Mules and Men, was published in 1935 when she was only 30 years old. It was followed by several more successful books including I Love My Blackness (1957), which is considered one of her best works, and The Complete Works of Zora Neale Hurston (1960).
Hurston's motivation for writing "How It Feels to Be Colored Like Me" is to express her satisfaction in being black. She rejects the notion, advanced by many of her black acquaintances during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, that segregation and racial discrimination hurt the black soul and needed to be addressed. Instead, she argues that blacks are simply happier when they stop trying to understand why they suffer racism and instead focus on enjoying their lives.
Writing about being black was also important to Hurston because of her experience as a quarantined patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1930. The hospital denied her access to most of the staff members because they were afraid she would infect them with tuberculosis, which was then considered fatal. Only two doctors bothered to visit her, and they did so only because they were interested in learning more about tuberculosis in blacks.
During her stay, Hurston read widely on topics such as psychology, anthropology, and history. What she learned helped her create a story about a black woman who experiences life differently from other people because of her skin color. By exploring Enid's emotions through detailed descriptions and frank conversations, Hurston attempts to show how racism affects blacks both directly and indirectly. She concludes by urging her readers not to judge or feel sorry for Enid because she enjoys being black rather than suffering racism.
Authors like as Richard Wright and Gwendolyn Brooks wrote on racial segregation and black nationalism throughout the Civil Rights Movement. African American literature was a mechanism for free blacks in the early Republic to negotiate their identity in an individualized republic. The literature also served to challenge stereotypes about black people.
Segregation affected the ability of blacks to move into other areas of life, including higher education, which were reserved for whites only. Blacks had to find ways to communicate their ideas and feelings around race while staying within the law. Literature provided them with a way to express themselves without risking arrest or physical injury.
Brooks used her position as editor of the journal that published her work to argue for equal treatment for blacks in schools. She also organized literary events where blacks could meet outside of the home and hear speakers discuss issues related to slavery and racism. Wright traveled across the country giving speeches on behalf of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). He argued that segregation was harmful to black people because it prevented them from achieving economic success or self-determination.
Both authors expressed concerns about white supremacy through their works. Wright described how blacks' ability to think for themselves was suppressed under slavery and later during periods of segregation. He wanted readers to understand this so they would not be surprised by racist acts toward blacks.