Saturday, January 7, 2017


"Zora Neale Hurston knew how to make an entrance. On May 1, 1925, at a literary awards dinner sponsored by Opportunity magazine, the earthy Harlem newcomer turned heads and raised eyebrows as she claimed four awards: a second-place fiction prize for her short story "Spunk," a second-place award in drama for her play Color Struck, and two honorable mentions.

The names of the writers who beat out Hurston for first place that night would soon be forgotten. But the name of the second-place winner buzzed on tongues all night, and for days and years to come. Lest anyone forget her, Hurston made a wholly memorable entrance at a party following the awards dinner. She strode into the room--jammed with writers and arts patrons, black and white--and flung a long, richly colored scarf around her neck with dramatic flourish as she bellowed a reminder of the title of her winning play: "Colooooooor Struuckkkk!" Her exultant entrance literally stopped the party for a moment, just as she had intended. In this way, Hurston made it known that a bright and powerful presence had arrived. By all accounts, Zora Neale Hurston could walk into a roomful of strangers and, a few minutes and a few stories later, leave them so completely charmed that they often found themselves offering to help her in any way they could.

Gamely accepting such offers--and employing her own talent and scrappiness--Hurston became the most successful and most significant black woman writer of the first half of the 20th century. Over a career that spanned more than 30 years, she published four novels, two books of folklore, an autobiography, numerous short stories, and several essays, articles and plays." "

And we wouldn't know who she was if Alice Walker hadn't dug her work up and started having it redistributed to the masses (us). 
* * * * *

Most days I am sure I would have loved to have had Zora Neale Hurston as a friend.

There are other times when I'm not quite sure.

“I am not tragically colored.

There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it.

Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less.

No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” 

The thing I am sure of is that I probably never would have left her presence without something worthwhile to think about and consider. She was uniquely herself in so many ways no matter what anybody else thought.

That makes her great all by itself. 

If you haven't read  her book "Their Eyes Were Watching God," you're missing a major piece of your education.  This book is a classic of Black American Literature. 

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