Zora Neale Hurston was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist. An author of four novels (Jonah’s Gourd Vine, 1934; Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937; Moses, Man of the Mountain, 1939; and Seraph on the Suwanee, 1948); two books of folklore (Mules and Men, 1935, and Tell My Horse, 1938); an autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942); and over fifty short stories, essays, and plays. She attended Howard University, Barnard College and Columbia University, and was a graduate of Barnard College in 1927. She was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, and grew up in Eatonville, Florida. She died in Fort Pierce, in 1960. In 1973, Alice Walker had a headstone placed at her gravesite with this epitaph: “Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South.”
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
, is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. An award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Professor Gates has authored or coauthored twenty-two books and created eighteen documentary films, including Finding Your Roots
. His six-part PBS documentary, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
, earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program-Long Form, as well as a Peabody Award, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, and NAACP Image Award.
M. Genevieve West is Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English, Speech, and Foreign Languages at Texas Woman’s University. A scholar of Zora Neale Hurston’s work, West has contributed to prestigious academic journals such as African American Review, Amerikastudien/American Studies, Receptions, and Women’s Studies. She is the author of one work of literary criticism, Zora Neale Hurston and American Literary Culture, and the editor of Hurston's Harlem Renaissance short stories Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick.