Jan. 7, 2020

Zora Neale Hurston’s Famous Letter To Orlando Sentinel on her 119th Birthday

Born January 7, 1901
Letter To the Editor
Orlando Sentinel
August 11, 1955
The Blackman Reads Our Black History Aloud

Zora Neale Hurston was born 119 years ago today. Zora was an amazing writer of fiction that detailed with realism of struggles, obstacles, and hardships that living black in this nation in the early and mid 20th Century was all about. Zora also spoke for the folklore that was transmitted in the southern black southern towns and cities. From Her Eyes Were Watching God which is considered one of the finest pieces of literature ever written to the recently released book Baracoon which detailed the life of the last African stolen into slavery. You have to marvel at the genius of this amazing woman.

One thing that Zora Neale Hurston didn’t agree with was the 1954 Brown versus the Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation in public schools across the country. Zora Neale Hurston simply and quite powerfully disagreed that black children were harmed in the segregated classrooms. She felt given the adequate resources black children would prosper in all black classrooms. Our black children do not need white children to reach levels of academic excellence.

Today as I celebrate the birthday of the Eatonsville, Florida native by reading her powerful letter to the editor of the Orlando Sentinel regarding her opposition to public school integration. This nation continues to struggle with true integrated schools and with educational inequality in many of our schools in 2020. The question asked and answered by Zora Neale Hurston is still troubling our nation. How do we fix racial inequality in this country’s institutions?

Ancestor Zora Neale Hurston was a remarkable intellectual whose anthropological​ finding related​ to our black ancestors from the south was ground-breaking. Zora Neale Hurston's findings uncovered the layers of black folk-art history that layered the incredible period of the Harlem Renaissance. Today, I salute Zora Neale Hurston by reading her historic Letter to the Editor of the Orlando Sentinel written August 11, 1955.