zora-portrait
Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Zora Neale Hurston Museum in Eatonville

Just 30 minutes north of Orlando, Fl;orida, is the Zora Neale Hurston Museum in Eatonville, the first African-American town to be independently governed by African-Americans. (Currently, the population of Eatonville is approximately 2,300 residents.)

Most known for Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937, Hurston (1891-1960) was an author as well as a playwright. Read her biography here: zoranealehurston.com.

The daughter of former enslaved persons, Zora Neale Hurston received a scholarship to Barnard College and became a fixture in the Harlem Renaissance cultural scene. She was also a close friend of writer Langston Hughes.

Many years after her death in 1960, author Alice Walker published an article creating a lasting resurgence of interest in this anthropologist and respected writer. Read more about Alice Walker here: https://authoradventures.org/trails/by-state/georgia/alice-walker-in-georgia.

Zora Neale Hurston Trail in Fort Pierce

In addition to the Eatonville museum, Fort Pierce, where Zora Neale Hurston lived and worked for a time, offers a trail commemorating her life, beginning at the library that was named for her. Fort Pierce has a population of approximately 46,000. Other places where she lived in Florida include Belle Glade, Eue Gallie (in Melbourne), and on a boat docked in Miami.

Awards in Her Name

Winner of many awards herself, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, several significant awards have been named after Zora Neale Hurston.

The American Library Association’s Zora Neale Hurston Award honors a person who has “demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature,” according to http://www.ala.org/awardsgrants/awards/217/apply.

The National Association of Black Storyteller’s highest and most prestigious honor is the Zora Neale Hurston Award. According to its website (https://www.nabsinc.org) “The award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the preservation and perpetuation of African American folklore.”

The Southern Anthropological Society also offers a Zora Neale Hurston Award to honor “an anthropologist who has shown mentoring, service and scholarship within historically under-served populations of the South.”

Additional Reading

Scholarly readers interested in the literary world of this ground-breaking writer may like Zora and Langston: A Story of Friendship and Betrayal by Yuval Taylor, published in 2019.

A photo of a letter she wrote describing her agony as a creator appears below.

Zora letter
Letter written by Zora Neale Hurston exhibited at the Broward County Main Library, Fort Lauderdale, FL ©Author Adventures

Zora Neale Hurston’s two locations are the third and fourth stops on Florida Author Adventures Trail #1!

Patricia Smart