Probably the most significant collector and interpreter of Southern, African American culture, Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) is the dominant female voice of the Harlem Renaissance era. In her works, she celebrates her hometown, Eatonville, as representative of the dignity and beauty of rural Southern, African-American life and culture. A consummate storyteller, she brings to her readers an authenticity based on her primary research.
Zora has enjoyed a revival of interest since the 1970’s due in large part to the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker; Robert Hemenway, her literary biographer; and most recently, Valerie Boyd’s biography Wrapped in Rainbows.
Her legacy is a phenomenon which has undergone remarkable development and expansion in recent decades, embracing among others, topics in ethnic identity, social interaction, feminist theory and cultural continuity. Her unique insights into folklore, performance and creative expression have invited new interpretation and inspired emulation, while the corpus of her own works has grown as a result of research and discovery.