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Life & Times

Posted by admin on Aug-16-2013

Field work (Folkloric & Anthropological)

Zora Hurston Traveled extensively in the Caribbean as well as in the American south. She immersed herself in the local practices of the culture in which she found herself. Her work in the American south was sponsored by Charlotte Osgood Mason from 1928 to 1932 and inspired “Mules and Men” in 1935. It was also the base material she used in novels like “Jonah’s Gourd Vine” published 1934.

Sponsored by the Guggenheim Foundation, Zora Hurston traveled to Jamaica & Haiti in 1936 and 1937. It was from this period she gleaned the material that is found in her Anthropological work entitled “Tell My Horse”. Zora also lived in Honduras in Puerto Cort├ęs for a short time where she wrote much of “Seraph on the Suwanee”. She expressed much interest in the ethnic nature of the population because many of them were in fact of partial African ancestry.

– 1920’s –
Zora Hurston reached New York in 1925 during the peak of the Harlem Renaissance. She quickly became one of the writers at the center of it. During this time Hurston had the short story “Spunk” selected for entry into “The New Negro”, A landmark anthology of poetry, essays and works of fiction focused on African / African American art & literature. Hurston also joined with a group of black writers to produce a literary magazine called “Fire!!” which featured many of the young Harlem Renaissance artists and writers. In 1929 She moved to Eau Gallie, FL. where she wrote “Mules and Men”.

– 1930’s –
In 1930 Hurston worked with Langston Hughes on “Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts” a play which was never finished but was published posthumously many years later, in 1991. She published many short stories & won much success & acclaim for “Mules and Men” by the mid 30’s. She was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937 to go to Jamaica and Haiti and perform ethno – graphic research. Her account of the fieldwork studying Voudoun rituals in Haiti and African rituals in Jamaica is documented in “Tell My Horse” in 1938. In the 30’s Hurston had her first 3 novels published. They were “Jonah’s Gourd Vine”, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” & Moses, Man of the Mountain. Zora Neale Hurston’s novel ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ was adapted into a TV movie in 2005 starring Halle Berry and Ruby Dee.

The 1930’s and 1940’s was an exciting time for the arts. This period is considered the Golden Age of the motion pictures industry. There is a refined market for quality movie posters from this era. Just as there are passionate collectors of the first printings of well known authors during these times including Zora Hurston, there are collectors and appraisers of original vintage movie posters, photos, and movie memorabilia along with original movie photos and film stills, Hollywood photography and portraits of stars, and even standees and theater displays. Perhaps the original manuscript of Zora Hurston’s books,including her well known novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, will one day fetch a high price in the marketplace for memorabilia about the Harlem Renaissance.

– 1940’s –
During the 40’s Hurstons work was published in such periodicals as “The American Mercury” and “The Saturday Evening Post”. She also released her last published novel “Seraph on the Suwanee” in 1948 which was most notable due to it’s focus on white characters.

– 1950’s –
Hurston was assigned to cover the small town murder trial of Ruby McCollum in 1952 by the Pittsburgh Courier. Who was being tried for murdering a racist white doctor who forced her to submit to sex & bear his child. During which she contributed to “Women in the Suwanee County Jail” a book by journalist William Bradford Huie a civil rights activist.

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