Anthropologist and so-called “Queen” of the Harlem Renaissance Zora Neale Hurston was born today in 1891. She liked giving people varying dates for her birth, invariably ones that marked her as younger. This fooled many writers like Alice Walker, who later helped rescue Hurston’s reputation from obscurity. Hurston most likely crafted this misconception not due to simple vanity but to obscure the fact that she did not even start high school in Florida until 1917, when she was already in her mid-twenties.
Despite such a late start to her education, after Hurston hit New York in 1925, she quickly became a literary star, publishing popular works of autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road) and autobiographical fiction (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and writing for the Saturday Evening Post.