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Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston was born in tiny Notasulga, Alabama on January 7, 1891, the fifth of eight children, to John Hurston, a carpenter, sharecropper, and Baptist preacher, and Lucy Potts Hurston, a former schoolteacher.
It is believed by some that her family moves to Eatonville, Florida around 1892.
Sometime around 1902 Zora impressed two white ladies who visited her grade school and gave her her first books.
In 1904 her mother died and she was devastated by her death. From there on she was raised by her unaffectionate father.
In September of 1917, at 26, she began high school at Morgan Academy in Baltimore where she graduated in June 1918.
From June to August of 1918, she worked as a waitress in a nightclub and a manicurist in a Black-owned barbershop that served only whites.
From 1918 to 1919, she attended Howard Prep School and attended Howard University from 1919 to 1924.
In 1921, she published her first story, John Redding Goes to Sea, in a campus magazine.
Then in December of 1924, she published Drenched in Light, a short story, in Opportunity.
In January 1925, she arrived in New York, jobless, just as the Harlem Renaissance began to crest.
In May of 1925, she won the Opportunity contest with Spunk and her play Color Struck; judges included Fannie Hurst and Eugene O'Neill. Spunk is published.
She began working for Hurst as a "secretary" who could not type in 1925.
From 1925 to 1927, she studied anthropology at Barnard College on a scholarship she received from Annie Nathan Meyer.
In 1926, she began field work for Franz Boas, the father of anthropology.
John Redding Goes to Sea was published in Opportunity in January 1926.
She organized Fire! With Langston Hughes and Wallace Stevens in July 1926.
She published Muttsy in Opportunity in August 1926.
She published Possum or Pig in the Forum in September 1926.
She published only issue of Fire!, featuring her story Sweat in November 1926.
She published The First One, a play, in Charles S. Johnson's Ebony and Topaz in 1927.
In February 1927, she went to Florida to collect folklore.
On May 17, 1927, she married Herbert Sheen, her longtime Howard boyfriend.
In October of 1927, she published a story of black settlement in St. Augustine and the story Cudjo's Own Story of the Last African Slaver in the Journal of Negro History in October 1927.
In September 1927, she asked Mrs. Rufus Osgood Mason for patronage.
In December 1927, she signed a contract with Mrs. Mason and returned to the South to collect folklore.
In 1928, she received her bachelor of arts from Barnard.
She separated from Sheen, briefly reunited with him, and finally filed for divorce in January 1928.
How It Feels to Be Colored Me in the World Tomorrow in May 1928.
From 1930 to 1932, Hurston organized the field notes that became Mules and Men.
She worked on the play Mule Bone with Langston Hughes from May through June of 1930.
In 1931, Hoodoo in America was published in the Journal of American Folklore.
In February 1931, Hurston broke with Langston Hughes over the authorship of Mule Bone.
She divorced Sheen on July 7, 1931.
Hurston wrote for a theatrical revue called Fast and Furious in September 1931.
In January 1932, she wrote and staged a theatrical revue called The Great Day, first performed on January 10, 1932 on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre. She also worked with the creative literature department of Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, to produce a concert program of Negro music.
Hurston wrote The Fiery Chariot in 1933.
That same year (in January 1933), From Sun to Sun (a version of Great Day) was staged at Rollins College.
The Gilded Six-Bits was published in Story, August 1933.
She published six essays in Nancy Cunard's anthology, Negro, in 1934.
In January 1934, she went to Bethune-Cookman College to establish a school of dramatic arts "based on pure Negro expression."
Hurston published Jonah's Gourd Vine, originally titled Big Nigger and it is a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in May 1934.
In September 1934, The Fire and the Cloud was published in the Challenge.
Singing Steel (a version of Great Day) was performed in Chicago November 1934.
Hurston then made an abortive attempt to study for a Ph.D. in anthropology at Columbia University on a fellowship from the Rosenwald Foundation in January 1935. She seldom attended classes.
Sometime in 1935, she worked with Alan Lomax on a Library of Congress folk-music recording expedition.
In August 1935, she joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project as a "dramatic coach."
Mules and Men was published in October 1935.
Hurston was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study West Indian Obeah Voodoo practices in March 1936.
From April to September 1936, Hurston did research in Jamaica and was disgusted by the mulattos' racism towards darker blacks.
Sometime in 1937, she wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in seven weeks, inspired by her relationship with the mysterious "P.M.P.", her perfect love, whom she abandoned.
Hurston returned to Haiti on a renewed Guggenheim in May 1937.
She returned to the United States in September 1937.
Their Eyes Were Watching God was published on September 18, 1937.
From February to March 1938, Hurston wrote Tell My Horse and it was published that same year.
Hurston joined the Federal Writers Project in Florida in April 1938, to work on The Florida Negro.
Now Take Noses was published in Cordially Yours in 1939.
Hurston received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Morgan State College in June 1939.
Also in 1939 (June 27), Hurston married Albert Price III in Florida.
In the summer of that same year (1939), she was hired as a drama instructor by North Carolina College for Negroes at Durham; she met Paul Green, professor of drama, at the University of North Carolina.
Moses, Man of the Mountain was published in November 1939.
Less than a year after she was married, Hurston filed for divorce from Price in February 1940, though the two were reconciled briefly.
In the summer of 1940, Hurston took a folklore-collecting trip to South Carolina.
She wrote Dust Tracks on a Road from April to July 1941.
Cock Robin, Beale Street was published in the Southern Literary Messenger in July 1941.
Hurston worked as a story consultant to Paramount Pictures from October 1941 to January 1942.
Story in Harlem Slang was published in the American Mercury in July 1942.
She published a profile of Lawrence Silas in the September 5, 1942 edition of the Saturday Evening Post.
Dust Tracks on a Road was published in November 1942.
In February 1943, Hurston was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Race Relations for Dust Tracks, she also appeared on the cover of the Saturday Review.
She received Howard University's Distinguished Alumni Award in March 1943.
The 'Pet Negro' Syndrome was published in the American Mercury in May 1943.
In November 1943, the final divorce decree dissolving her marriage to Price was granted.
From 1944 to 1945, Hurston spent time living on a isolated houseboat on the Florida rivers.
My Most Humiliating Jim Crow Experience was published in the Negro Digest in June 1944.
Sometime in 1945 Hurston wrote Mrs. Doctor; it was rejected by Lippincott.
The Rise of the Begging Joints was published in the American Mercury in March 1945.
In December 1945, Crazy for This Democracy was published in the Negro Digest.
Hurston returned to New York where she worked for a Republican congressional candidate in 1946. The candidate lost.
From December 1946 to March 1947, Hurston lived cold and alone in an apartment on 124th Street in New York city.
She had a review of Robert Tallant's Voodoo in New Orleans in the Journal of American Folklore published in 1947.
In May 1947, she went to British Honduras to research black communities in Central America; wrote Seraph on the Suwanee and stayed in Honduras until March 1948.
In September 1948, she was accused of molesting a ten-year-old boy and arrested.
Seraph on the Suwanee was published in October 1948.
In 1949, embarrassed by headlines about the alleged accusation of molestation and the ensuing court case, she became depressed and suicidal.
In March 1949, the molestation case against her was dismissed as groundless.
Conscience of the Court was published in the Saturday Evening Post in March 1950, while she worked as a maid in Rivo Island, Florida.
In April 1950, What White Publishers Won't Print was published in the Saturday Evening Post.
Hurston continued to work as a maid in Miami in 1950.
In November 1950, I Saw Negro Votes Peddled was published in the American Legion magazine.
Hurston moved to Belle Glade, Florida in January 1951.
In June 1951, Why the Negro Won't Buy Communism was published in the American Legion magazine.
On December 8, 1951, A Negro Voter Sizes Up Taft (the 2nd Republican for whom she campaigned) was published in the Saturday Evening Post.
In 1952, Hurston was hired by the Pittsburgh Courier to cover the Ruby McCollum case.
Hurston took a public stance against desegregation, claiming that blacks did not need any part of white America or its educational system and was decried as a traitor in 1954.
Hurston received an award for "education and human relations" at Bethune-Cookman College in May 1956.
She started working as a librarian at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida in June 1956.
In 1957, she was fired from  her librarian job and moved to a small cabin in Fort Pierce, where she grew her own food.
From 1957 to 1959, Hurston wrote a column on Hoodoo and Black Magic for the Fort Pierce Chronicle.
In 1958, Hurston worked as a substitute teacher at Lincoln Park Academy, Fort Pierce.
She suffered a debilitating stroke in early 1959.
In October 1959, she was forced to enter the St. Lucie County Welfare Home.
Zora Neale Hurston died on January 28, 1960, in the St. Lucie County Welfare Home of "hypertensive heart disease" and was buried in an unmarked grave in the segregated Garden of Heavenly Rest, Fort Pierce.
Alice Walker discovered and marked Hurston's grave in August 1973.
In March 1975, Walker published In Search of Zora Neale Hurston, in Ms., which launched a Hurston revival.
Between 1990 and 1995, Their Eyes Were Watching God sold over a million copies.
In 1993, Fort Pierce built the Zora Neale Hurston Branch Library.
In 1996, Zora Neale Hurston became the fourth African-American and the fifth woman (first both) to be published in the distinguished Library of America series.

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