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The ZORA! Festival is an annual celebration of the life and legacy of Zora Neale Hurston, a renowned African American author, folklorist, and anthropologist.

Taking place in Eatonville, Florida, the festival celebrates the best of African American art, literature, music, and culture. It features performances from regional and national artists, educational seminars, and interactive workshops. The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community (P.E.C.) hosts the ZORA! Festival and continuously advocates for the preservation of physical infrastructure, heritage, and cultural resources within Eatonville, with a particular emphasis on Zora Neal Hurston and her contribution to the development of the community.

About Zora Neale Hurston:

Zora Neale Hurston was an African American author and anthropologist who was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hurston was born in 1891 in Eatonville, Florida, the fifth of eight children. An avid reader, she developed an early interest in writing and storytelling. As an adult, she wrote novels, plays, short stories, essays, and poetry.

Hurston’s best-known work is her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). The book receives praise for its use of folklore and vivid description of African American culture. Hurston’s other works include Mules and Men (1935), a collection of African American folktales, and her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. In almost all her published work, you can find references to Eatonville and experience how it shaped her.

Hurston was a vibrant and outspoken figure, and she often clashed with the more conservative members of the African American literary community. Despite this, she was highly respected and admired for her work. Hurston attended Howard University, where she studied anthropology and wrote her first novel, Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934). Hurston’s writing style was unique and infused with the distinct African American vernacular of the South.

In addition to her literary works, Hurston was also a talented anthropologist. After graduating from Howard, she studied anthropology at Columbia University, where she was the first African American woman to earn a master’s degree in the subject. She researched the Caribbean, recording stories and music from the region. Hurston’s work in the field of anthropology was significant in terms of documenting African American culture and folklore.

You can find out more here and join in on ZORA! Festival events now through the end of October!

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