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, Florida, is the Zora Neale Hurston Museum in the small town of Eatonville, the first African-American city to be independently governed by African-Americans.

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, a midsize town 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. 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.

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 fourth and fifth stops on Florida Author Adventures Trail #1.

Patricia Smart