Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960)

African American anthropologist, folklorist, and writer. A central figure of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, Hurston was born in Notasuga, Alabama, and grew up in Eatonville, Florida, the daughter of a Baptist preacher and a seamstress. She attended Howard University and in 1928 received a B.A. from Barnard College, where she studied anthropology and developed an interest in black folk traditions and in oral history. Hurston’s writing draws on her knowledge of folklore and uses a vigorous, rhythmical, direct prose style that influenced many later American writers. Her works include the play Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts (1931), written with Langston Hughes, the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), and her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), as well as her Collected Stories (1995) and Collected Plays (2008). See also zoranealehurston.com.