Zora Neale Hurston, 1891-1960

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Zora Neale Hurston: Heart with Room for Every Joy [FULL Doc]

Zora Neale Hurston was an American author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. She portrayed racial struggles in the early-20th-century American South and published research on Haitian Vodou. The most popular of her four novels is Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937.

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“I have the strength to walk my own path, no matter how hard, in my search for reality, and not cling to the splendid wagon of desperate illusions.” A writer of novels, short stories, folktales, plays, and essays, Zora Neale Hurston combined a hunger for research and a desire to penetrate the deepest of popular beliefs with a truly exquisite narrative talent. This illuminating biography of Hurston—a compelling story of a free spirit who achieved national prominence yet died in obscurity—examines the rich legacy of her writings, which include Mules and Men, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tell My Horse, and Dust Tracks on a Road. Interviews with Lucy Anne Hurston, Zora’s niece and author of the biography Speak, So You Can Speak Again, and with Henry Louis Gates Jr., W. E. B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, are featured. The program amply demonstrates that Hurston truly had, as it said in her high school yearbook, “A heart with room for every joy.”

Narrated by her niece, Lucy Hurston, this biographical overview of Zora Neale Hurston includes background about her life and family and growing up in Eatonville, Florida, the first chartered all Negro city in America. In 1919 Zora starts to write while attending Howard University. Zora concentrates on timeless topics of life and death, not divisive Negro topics. The way she tells a story becomes controversial as she masterfully uses African American vernacular as a standard idiom. The successful combination of Standard English and Black vernacular in her writings sets Hurston apart. She receives recognition and gradually establishes herself as a nationally known, published black female author. Zora becomes a vibrant part of the Harlem Negro movement and Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s.

As an observer of daily life and an anthropologist, Hurston becomes interested in Voodoo and travels South to collect and publish on Black Culture and American Voodoo folklore, a topic she studies all her life. Her works include her biography, Dust Tracks on a Road, Mules and Men, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, a controversial, sensual, groundbreaking work which speaks of culture, love, anxiety and “what gets us out of bed in the morning.”

Includes commentary by Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Negro Folklore classics sung by Hurston herself. All technical aspects are of professional quality.

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