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Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was an American author and anthropologist of the 19th century. She was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama. Her parents John and Lucy Ann Hurston were former slaves. John Hurston was a pastor and he moved his family to Florida when Zora was still a young child. He later served as mayor of the town where they lived. Zora’s mother died in 1904 and her father remarried almost immediately. She was sent to boarding school in Jacksonville but was eventually kicked out when her father stopped paying her tuition. She worked as a maid for a travelling theatrical company in order to support herself and continue her education.

Hurston enrolled at Morgan College in 1917 and graduated a year later in 1918. Then she enrolled at Howard University for her undergraduate degree. There she studied Spanish, English and Greek along with public speaking and co-founded a student newspaper called “The Hilltop” where she published some of her earliest work. She completed her degree in 1920. In 1925 she was offered a scholarship to Barnard College at Columbia University, where she conducted research in anthropology with a distinguished anthropologist named Franz Boas. She received her B.A. in anthropology in 1928 at the age of 37, but spent two more years at Columbia working as a graduate student.

Hurston moved to the Harlem neighborhood in New York City where she made a number of influential friends including renowned poets and social activists such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. There was a burgeoning art scene in New York of which Zora soon became a part. Her apartment was noted as a famous meeting place for leading intellectuals of the time. She also travelled extensively to conduct research for her books such as the Southern states of U.S. as well as the Caribbean Islands. On each of her travels she noted the local cultural practices, the details of which she published in her 1935 book titled “Mules and Men”. She also contributed articles to several magazines, including the Journal of American

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