Birthday Girl

“‘Taint so big uh chance it seem lak, Pheoby. Ah’m older than Tea Cake, yes. But he done showed me where it’s de thought dat makes de difference in ages. If people thinks the same they can make it all right. So in the beginnin’ new thoughts had tuh be thought and new words said. After ah got used tuh dat, we gits ‘long jus’ fine. He done taught me de maiden language all over. Wait till you see de new blue satin Tea Cake done picked out for me tuh stand up wid him in. High heel slippers, necklace, earrings, everything he wants tuh see me in. Some of dese mornin’s and it won’t be long, you gointuh wake up callin’ me and Ah’ll be gone.” -Janie, pg. 115, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. First Perennial Edition, New York, NY, 1990

Although she is not physically with us, Zora Neale Hurston is alive because the words she wrote still breathe life into readers of all ages and the descendents of the people she studied continue the traditions she wrote about.

Happy Birthday to the woman who wrote, Their Eyes Were Watching God a work that stands alone with the strength of its prose, but towers above other novels because of it’s depth. I find it fascinating that a book which narrates such high spirits can simultaneously reflect the deep sorrows of the black experience. This is a body of work that, on one hand, professes a black love so real readers find themselves falling in love, and on the other hand, narrates a storm with such force, that it is referenced in description of the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina. Sister Citizen by Melissa Harris-Perry extracts passages from Their Eyes… because it is THAT good.

Hurston also published work that has been adapted into children’s books. Colorful illustrations portray the conversation, tall-tale, and folklore of the Southern people that were the focus of her research. After you read Their Eyes… you should read some of these riveting, hilarious, and insightful children’s books .

Happy Birthday to Zora Neale Hurston an intelligent, creative, and inspiring author of The Harlem Renaissance!

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