Zora Neale Hurston was a great author who influenced black history through the Harlem Renaissance, inspired a handful of other famous writers, and shined her bright personality through her collection of novels, short stories, autobiographies, plays, and essays. Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama in 1891 but soon moved to Eatonville, Florida where she would reside and begin her literary art. Hurston and her large family lived happily in Eatonville; the nation’s first incorporated Black Township.
Everywhere you looked there was evidence of black achievement, so growing up in this culturally affirming setting, Hurston found home. “Hurston’s idyllic childhood came to an abrupt end, though, when her mother died in 1904. Zora was only 13 years old. “That hour began my wanderings,” she later wrote. “Not so much in geography, but in time. Then not so much in time as in spirit. “” (Boyd) Hurston began publishing her writing right around the time that the Harlem Renaissance began. To escape oppression in the south, Hurston migrated north to Baltimore where she would really begin her writing career.
After submitting a few short stories to various magazines, she got her confidence up. When she got second place at a literary contest, she published “Spunk” her first of many short stories to come. Hurston, along with a few others revolutionized literature with their innovative forms and unique writing subjects. Soon the rest of world began to see the uprising of black literature, which made a huge impact on the lives of African Americans. Seeing the success made by Hurston and other writers through literature was a big step for black history. Zora Neale Hurston is considered to be one of the most influential contributors to the Harlem Renaissance period. She was an established American anthropologist, folklorist, and novelist who was not only an inspiration to those surrounding her, but she affected aspiring creators all across the country. ” (Chambliss) The literary style of writing that Hurston used to portray her stories inspired many other authors in their form of writing. Authors such as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Charlotte Hunt, and Alice Walker were moved by Hurston’s way with words.
Regarding the time frame, it is one thing to write multiple novels and short stories as an African American woman, but to inspire others to write and become well known authors is simply incredible. When Zora Neale Hurston passed away in 1960 she was buried in an unmarked grave, however, years later in 1973 a young Alice Walker traveled all the way to Fort Pierce, Florida to place a marker on Hurston’s grave that never got a headstone. “…Walker made an active choice to befriend the spirit of Hurston.
Hurston was an influential writer in the Harlem Renaissance, but most of her work was out of print by the time she died in 1960. She was a forgotten writer until Alice Walker reached through the mists of time, blew the dust away from the covers, and re-introduced Hurston’s work into American literature once again. ” (Thornton) Hurston was and still is to this day widely respected as a symbol of American literature. Her writings will be remembered always. Not only is Zora Neale Hurston a huge influence on the Harlem Renaissance and a contributor to the inspiration of other famous writers, she is also an awesome story teller.
There are plenty of famous authors out there who can write and write, but who is to say that their work is the slightest bit interesting? Hurston’s particular form of writing is fun and indulging. Her upbeat personality showed in her writings all the way through. The slang and dialect she uses in her texts makes them a good read. Plenty of her books and short stories remain in class rooms across the country from the junior high school level to college. Hurston really knew how to write for everyone.
It takes a great author to attract all audiences and she did just that with her immaculate writing skills. Without the great writings of Zora Neale Hurston, black literature would not be the same today. The great authors she inspired may never have even picked up a pen. It takes someone great to make a difference in the world through literature. She worked wonders in gaining more respect for African American women and her sweet soul touched many. Zora will not be forgotten as a symbol in black history and should remain significant in the literary canon.