Zora Neale Hurston (January, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Best known for her 1937 Novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston had wrote four novels and more than fifty published short stories, plays, and essays.
In the words of Katie Geneva Cannon: “In both her life and her work Hurston embodied a sensitized candor in relation to the short, invisible ethos as well as the expressed moral values emanating from within the cultural institutions in the Black community. Unlike most other writers in her time, Hurston emphasized the unique cultural heritage and wholeness of Black life. . .
. . .She used ‘folk language, folkways, and folk stories’ as symbols to measure the intrinsic values of the Black oral/aural cultural tradition. In order to refute assumptions of genetic racism and to vindicate the Black community in the face of the oppressive slander of White supremacy, Hurston used a presentational method to document the culture, history, imagination, and fantasies of Black people.” (Katie’s Cannon, p 79)