Who Is Zora Neale Hurston?

1249 Words5 Pages
The Great Depression, Segregation, and the Harlem Renaissance were all undeniably important parts of our country’s history, and Zora Neale Hurston was one extraordinary woman who lived through all three. Today considered to be one of the most important African American authors ever, Hurston was a successful author at the peak of her career. Although she had to endure a great deal to get to where she was, Hurston never let her surroundings get her down, “I do not weep at the world I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife” (Zora). Hurston’s effects on the writing community and the world demonstrate the struggles she had to go through throughout her life. In 1883, the Jim Crow laws were banning African Americans from public places like…show more content…
While this was an arduous time for everyone, they were especially difficult for African American writers and artists. Hurston was desperate for work, and she began writing short stories. One, “The Gilded Six Bits”, which she sent to Robert Wunsch of the English department of Rollins, was the start of her career. Wunsch read the story to his students and then sent it to Story Magazine, where it was accepted for publication. Being published in such a popular magazine, Hurston gave everyone a shocking story about marriage, betrayal, and forgiveness. Soon, she had many publishers asking her to write a full length novel, yet the only one she responded to was Bertram Lippincott of J.B. Lippincott Publishing Company. Assuring him that she was working on a novel, and that she would send it to him soon, she got to work. Three months later, her manuscript was almost ready. However, she still needed someone to read over it and type it, so she turned to the secretary of the town’s municipal judge, who typed the manuscript and waited for payment, believing that if Lippincott did not buy it, someone else would. By October 3, 1933, the manuscript was ready to be mailed, though by this time, Hurston owed eighteen dollars in back rent and her landlady was growing impatient. With the $25 she would get from performing with her concert group for the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce, Hurston was going to pay her, but on the morning of October 16, she was evicted from her little house. After the concert, the performers were given their money, which Hurston took to a shoe store to replace her worn-out shoes. While trying on new shoes, Hurston remembered the telegram she had left unopened in her pocket. Opening it, she found an offer from Bertrand Lippincott to purchase her novel Jonah’s Gourd Vine, with an advance of $200. She raced home to wire her acceptance. (Bloom 4-5) During the
Get Access