Zora Neale Hurston found me by way of Alice Walker. I imagine it was that way for many black girls my age. There was no “Mule Bone” or “Their Eyes Were Watching God” on any required reading list I’d ever come across at that point, but still, she found me.
I was captivated from jump. I loved the fact that I had to read an entire chapter before that beautiful Eatonville AAVE kicked in and allowed me to become one with the characters. Not sure I fully appreciated how diverse, yet universal, our voices could be until Zora. I owe an enormous debt to black women writers. I am especially fond of those who wrote (and continue to write) with such authenticity. Those writers who heard voices in their hearts and minds and shared them exactly the way they were made manifest. J. California Cooper and Ntozake Shange both immediately come to mind as well.
I could write more, but it would all pale in comparison to the listening that’s about to take place below. Click on the clip and listen as our icons share words direct from the page. Happy Birthday Zora Neale Hurston! Your legacy inspires us all~
and…just because I LOVE to hear Sonia Sanchez tell stories, an added bonus!
Devoya Mayo is Co-Creator of The Happy Black Girl
Get To Know An HBG is her favorite column to write.
You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org