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Zora Neale Hurston Fellowship Award Fund

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Eatonville, Florida, was the childhood home of Zora Neale Hurston as well as the setting for many of her books and stories. Attending Howard University and Columbia University, she studied anthropology and folklore under famous scholar Franz Boas. Over the next several years, Hurston traveled throughout the southern United States. Interviewing storytellers in Florida and Hoodoo doctors in New Orleans, she used their folklore to fuel her writing.

Unable to make a living from her writing, Hurston worked as a teacher, a librarian and a domestic worker in order to survive. She spent her later years in Florida, continuing to write articles that were published in various local and national venues as well as three additional novels which were rejected for publication. Hurston was one of the most prolific black female writers; of her time, however her death in 1960 was largely unnoticed and she was buried in an unmarked grave.

The power of Hurston’s imagery and the richness of the culture which she brings to life through her writings have attracted a new audience in recent years. Hurston was the state’s first black American anthropologist, as well as Florida’s most prominent black female author.

After her death, the UF Friends of Anthropology and department of anthropology created an endowed scholarship in celebration of her life. This Fund aims to financially assist a graduate student enrolled in anthropology. April 23 was also named Zora Neale Hurston Day by former Gainesville Mayor Jean Chalmers. Zeta Phi Beta, an international black sorority of which Hurston was a member, presented a Distinguished Service Award posthumously to Hurston. Former Zeta president, Edith Francis said that Hurston “carried the torch for a few, but lighted the way for many

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