Two one-week workshops for eighty school teachers on the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston.
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), renowned for both her fiction writing and her scholarly research as a collector of African-American folklore, spent much of her childhood in the small town of Eatonville, Florida, which was founded by freed slaves in 1886. During this workshop, participants explore Hurston's Eatonville roots, her folkloric and literary endeavors, her participation in the Harlem Renaissance, and her final years in Fort Pierce, Florida. Historian Julian Chambliss (Rollins College); literary scholars Houston A. Baker (Vanderbilt University), Jill Jones (Rollins College), and Maurice O'Sullivan (Rollins College); preservationist N.Y. Nathiri (Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community); Chautauqua interpreter Phyllis McEwen; and Hurston biographer Valerie Boyd (University of Georgia) join lead scholar Heather Russell (Florida International University) in this consideration of Hurston and her milieu. Participants take walking tours of Eatonville and Fort Pierce, examine Hurston documents at the Rollins College archive, view an exhibit on Hurston and Eatonville at the Maitland Art Center, explore her folklore writings collected on the Library of Congress's American Memory site, work on curriculum projects, and watch a theatrical presentation of songs and stories that the author collected in central Florida. Readings include, among other works and resources, Hurston's masterwork, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and other writings; Valerie Boyd, Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston; and Robert Hemenway, Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography.