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born 1891

Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist, anthropologist and writer. Her work recording southern language + culture in the African American community brought an important voice to the northern Harlem Renaissance. 

In spite of having produced multiple beautifully written + researched books, plays, essays and articles, Zora died penniless.

Her popularity didn't surge until 13 years after her death when she was "rediscovered" by writer Alice Walker. Alice helped raise Zora's life + writings to their rightful status as required reading. Today, Zora's masterpiece Their Eyes Were Watching God remains one of our best-loved books.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Zora Neale Hurston (21)

"The game of keeping what one has is never so exciting as the game of getting."

How It Feels To Be Colored Me | 1928

"Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company?"

How It Feels To Be Colored Me | 1928

"I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife."

How It Feels To Be Colored Me | 1928

"I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes."

How It Feels To Be Colored Me | 1928

"I love myself when I am laughing. And then again when I am looking mean and impressive."

to Carl Van Vechten | december 1934

"It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk."

Their Eyes Were Watching God | 1937

"They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God."

Their Eyes Were Watching God | 1937

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer."

Their Eyes Were Watching God | 1937

"[She] felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place."

Their Eyes Were Watching God | 1937

"No matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you."

Their Eyes Were Watching God | 1937

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board."

Their Eyes Were Watching God | 1937

"When one is too old for love, one finds great comfort in good dinners."

Moses, Man of the Mountain | 1939

"Happiness is nothing but everyday living seen through a veil."

Moses, Man of the Mountain | 1939

"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."

Dust Tracks on a Road | 1942

"There is nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them."

Dust Tracks on a Road | 1942

"I did not just fall in love, I made a parachute jump."

Dust Tracks on a Road | 1942

"I do not pretend to read God's mind. If He has a plan for the universe worked out to the smallest detail, it would be folly for me to presume to get down on my knees and attempt to revise it."

Dust Tracks on a Road | 1942

"Justice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder."

Dust Tracks on a Road | 1942

"If you haven't got it, you can't show it. If you have got it, you can't hide it."

Dust Tracks on a Road | 1942

"To live without friends is like milking a bear to get cream for your morning coffee. It is a whole lot of trouble and then not worth much after you get it."

Dust Tracks on a Road | january 1942

"You are alive, aren't you? Well, so long as you have no grave you are covered by the sky. No limit to your possibilities. The distance to heaven is the same everywhere."

Zora's journal | circa 1954
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curated with care by Pauline Weger & Alicia Williamson {august 2014}