Hurston, best known for her sem­inal novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” was born in Florida on Jan. 7, 1891, but she moved to New York in 1925 with only $1.50 to her name. She soon became friends with Langston Hughes and Dorothy West.

Carla Kaplan, a pro­fessor of Amer­ican Lit­er­a­ture at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and author of “Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Let­ters,” said the author and anthro­pol­o­gist would be “so tickled” to be praised in such a modern way.

She was a very pri­vate woman who loved pub­licity,” Kaplan said, adding that Hurston often found her­self “wanting others to see that she had a glean or a shine.”

Hurston’s life in Harlem was often stranger than fic­tion — the scribe once “bor­rowed” money from a home­less beggar for a subway fare, claiming she needed the money “worse than you today.” She died in poverty in a Florida wel­fare center in 1960.

She was always more inter­ested in recog­ni­tion than she was with money,” Kaplan said.


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