Monday, February 1, 2010

Cut It Out! Recognizing Influential Black Women During Black History Month

Today is the first day of Black History Month. We like to use our blog during this month to highlight the many black women in our history that have influenced our culture in more ways than we start with:

Zora Neale Hurston
(January 7, 1891 - January 28, 1960)

Zora Neale Hurston was born in Alabama in January of 1891. She attended Howard University, and later Barnard College, where she was the only black female student. She received her BA in Anthropology in 1927.

Zora was a folklorist/writer during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. She published four novels, more than 50 short stories, plays and Essays. Her most notable novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was published in 1937 and later adapted in to a movie by Harpo Productions in 2005. She traveled extensively in the Carribean and became immersed in local cultures and practices to conduct her anthropological research. Her book Tell My Horse, published in 1938, was based on her documented research of the time she spent in Jamaica and Haiti studying both African and Voudon rituals.

Zora eventually went into public obscurity for decades due to a number of cultural, and political reasons. "Many readers objected to the representation of African American dialect in [her] novels, give the racially charged history of dialect fiction in American literature. Her stylistic choices in terms of dialogue were influenced by her academic experiences. Thinking like a folklorist, [she] strove to represent speech patterns of the period which she documented through ethnographic research."

Hurston passed away on January 28, 1960. You can learn more about Zora here.

Are you a Cut It Out! Girl?!

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