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Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)

01 Aug 16 - 05:43 PM (#3803092)
Subject: Zora Neale Hurston
From: Thomas Stern

Anyone with an interests in African-American traditions should be
familiar with Hurston's work.
There are some posts about her work on MUDCAT here:

I just noticed the following films in the 5-DVD set PIONEERS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CINEMA released by Kino-Lorber and BFI, and hope
someone can provide further information about their content???

. Zora Neale Hurston Fieldwork Footage (excerpt) 1928. 3 minutes.   
. Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940 (excerpt) Zora Neale Hurston, 1940. 15 minutes.
. Bonus: The Films of Zora Neale Hurston (2 minutes)


01 Aug 16 - 06:00 PM (#3803095)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: keberoxu

Online, a tumblr blogger cites this name:

Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis
Filmwork Footage of Black Americans in the Rural South, 1928

The blogger states that this footage appears in the first three minutes of the video.

Online, it says that Mr. Lewis died in 1935.

Has anyone seen this footage?

02 Aug 16 - 08:00 AM (#3803167)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: BrooklynJay

This may be the footage:

Cudjoe Lewis

A bit more about Cudjoe Lewis here.


03 Aug 16 - 12:35 PM (#3803382)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: Thomas Stern

Thanks Keberoxu and BrooklynJay!!

03 Aug 16 - 10:07 PM (#3803450)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: Stilly River Sage

Zora Neale Hurston did a lot of ethnographic/anthropological work during the WPA era. Her book Mules and Men is mentioned in that thread, along with a link to an online version of the text.

She's best known these days for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, that uses a lot of material about the culture of the day and the unusual yet realistic nature of the community she describes. She's also known for having more or less disappeared from view for years, ending up a housekeeper and buried in a pauper's grave until Alice Walker took an interest and revived scholarly interest in Hurston.

04 Aug 16 - 12:31 PM (#3803535)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: Thomas Stern

Library of America has published her major works in 2 attractive
Library of America - Hurston

The Heminway/Walker biography remains in print:
Hurston - A Literary Biography

Best wishes, Thomas.

04 Aug 16 - 01:37 PM (#3803551)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: Thomas Stern

noticed another book which looks worthwhile, which I was not
aware of:
Carla Kaplan: ZORA NEALE HURSTON A life in Letters
Doubleday, 2002.

also a transcription of a lecture by the author of the above collection of letters. At the end of the transcription is
a link to recommended reading extensive list of writings by and
about Hurston:


04 Aug 16 - 04:33 PM (#3803591)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: BrooklynJay

Searching Google for videos yielded a number of interesting results. Type in 'Zora Neale Hurston' and refine the search results to 'videos'.

Loved this old radio clip from 1943 where she talks about zombies.


07 Jan 23 - 08:35 PM (#4161685)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: Thomas Stern

Just announced by PBS, coming Jan 17 American Masters.
When Zora Neale Hurston Studied Voodoo in Haiti

Hurston Voodoo - PBS American Masters


08 Jan 23 - 04:37 PM (#4161755)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: Jack Campin

She was not as radical as you might think. She tried very hard to dissuade Pete Seeger from having anything to do with Alan Lomax in case he picked up Communist ideas. Her letters about it are downright paranoid.

08 Jan 23 - 05:16 PM (#4161759)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: meself

I haven't seen the letters, but it seems to me that that kind of 'paranoia' was far more widespread than many now would suppose. I think many people now have the impression that other than for a handful of rabid anti-Communists in the Joe McCarthy vein, everyone was cool, when in fact the fear of Communist spies and operatives infected much of North America, if not of the West generally.

08 Jan 23 - 06:18 PM (#4161769)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: Felipa

"Sometimes, feel discriminated against, butit does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It beyond me." -Zora Neale Hurston

A Mighty Girl    7 Jan 2022
While Zora Neale Hurston was born on this day in 1891, the pioneering author, anthropologist, and folklorist often claimed 1901 to be her birth year due to the gift of books she received at the age of ten that she said opened her mind to literature and represented her literary “birth.” Hurston grew up in Eatonville, Florida, an all-African American town formed following the U.S. Civil War. This gave her a unique viewpoint on the African American experience that clearly comes through in her writing. Hurston was a flamboyant figure in the Harlem Renaissance in the late 1920s. Later, she used her training in anthropology to collect and retell traditional folk stories from the many regions and countries, including the American South, Honduras, Jamaica, and Haiti.

Although she wrote published more than fifty short stories, plays, and essays as well as four novels, including her best-known novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," Hurston’s dialectical style fell out of favor with the literary world. Hurston might have fallen into complete obscurity following her death in 1960 were it not for the work of another African American writer, Alice Walker, whose 1975 Ms. Magazine article "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston," revived interest in Hurston’s incredible body of writing. The reemergence of Hurston's work coincided with the emergence of other female authors such as Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Walker herself, whose writing focused on the African American experience.

Fortunately, Hurston's true genius is now well-recognized and "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is considered an American literary classic. Through her life and legacy, she demonstrated the truth of her famous assertion: "A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it."

For the first box set featuring ten of her classic works, we recommend the "Zora Neale Hurston Boxed Set" at -- or you can find all of her finest work in one volume at

There is also a recent collection of Hurston's essays spanning 35 years: "You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays," at

To learn more about Zora Neale Hurston's famous novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," visit

For a beautiful picture book biography of Hurston, we highly recommend "Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston" for ages 5 to 9 at

For an excellent biography on Hurston for young readers, we recommend "Zora!: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston" for ages 9 to 14 at

For adult readers, we also recommend Hurston's fascinating autobiography, "Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography," at -- and the memoir "Wrapped in Rainbows" at

08 Jan 23 - 07:37 PM (#4161777)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston
From: Stilly River Sage

Hurston wound up her days working as a maid or cleaning woman in extremely straightened conditions, it is my understanding that she was buried in a pauper's cemetery. Alice Walker worked to set things to rights for Hurston posthumously, promoting her work and have her buried in a place more suited to her stature.

Intersections: Crafting a Voice for Black Culture
Alice Walker on Zora Neale Hurston's 'Spiritual Food'

09 Jan 23 - 08:58 AM (#4161848)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
From: GUEST,keberoxu

The anti-communism spoken of, above, by meself
still has adherents in areas of the United States --
I was raised in one such.
It is routine to hear, in such places,
socialism described as Nazi-ism.

09 Jan 23 - 11:32 PM (#4161930)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
From: meself

My point, though, is that those sentiments were thoroughly widespread, such that they were held by many people we would consider 'mainstream', if not fairly liberal and progressive. By analogy, many progressive thinkers, pre-WWII, were interested in eugenics, which is hard for us to fathom now.

10 Jan 23 - 02:02 AM (#4161932)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
From: Jack Campin

The odd thing about this one is that Hurston's motivations come across as positive - a genuine and motherly concern for Seeger's welfare, to keep him out of the clutches of the Communist menace.

10 Jan 23 - 02:29 PM (#4161979)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
From: meself

Not sure why that would be 'odd', again, given the times. I would wonder, though, if Pete Seeger wasn't already well in the clutches of the Communist menace by the time Hurston would be writing to him ... ?

10 Jan 23 - 05:38 PM (#4161994)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch

New player in the game: Stalinist. Go far enough in either extreme and you come full circle… antifascists fascists or fascist antifascists, believer's choice.

Molotov-Ribbentrop isn't up for debate. The Battle of France & The Blitz were wars of imperialism the United States should steer clear of where Pete Seeger & Charles Lindbergh were not alone in being allied with Hitler & the Wehrmacht.

Fast forward 2008, Donald Trump, a registered Democrat, most likely voted straight party ticket (lazy vote) for America's first African-American President. The Orange One switches his little “D” to a little “R” and abracadabra... Hitler 2.0!

On topic, I can't recommend Hurston (or anybody else ftm) on Bahamian music/culture.

14 Jan 23 - 09:02 AM (#4162428)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
From: GUEST,harpy

Zora was a songcatcher, too.
Florida’s capitol museum gives out discs which include her collecting.

20 Jan 23 - 08:06 PM (#4163081)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton

I understand one of her very favorite songs was "John Henry:.

24 Jan 23 - 02:04 PM (#4163438)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
From: Rain Dog

Broadcast this afternoon on BBC Radio 4. Available to listen to on BBC Sounds

Great Lives Adjoa Andoh on Zora Neale Hurston

Actor Adjoa Andoh has a list of TV, theatre and film credits as long as your arm. She's best known worldwide as Bridgerton's Lady Danbury, and is due to direct - and star in the title role - in a new production of Richard III. Her great life is the 20th century American writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, author of "Their Eyes Were Watching God". An iconic figure in the literature of the jazz age, her name was all but forgotten after her death in 1960, before being pulled back into public consciousness in the US by fellow author Alice Walker in the 1970s.

Adjoa makes the case that we should all know more about Zora, a trailblazer who - on top of her writing career - researched zombies in the Caribbean and helped collect the stories of slavery's last survivors.

24 Jan 23 - 06:42 PM (#4163473)
Subject: RE: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
From: Dorothy Parshall

Well, this thread is a treat. Living in a rural area, with no internet access for years. I stumbled across Our Eyes... And was enthrallled by it - but that;s all there was! Now I can go find these things you guys have provided! What a treat!