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What Zora Knew: A Crossroads, a Bargain with the Devil, and a Late Witness


This tribute to Zora Neale Hurston is meant to re-introduce Hurston's work to folklorists and Hurston enthusiasts who already know her and some of her work, yet who may not have thought much about her more recently. I have gained new regard, respect, and passion for what Hurston brought to ethnographic research, to the art of writing about folklore and Southern black life. She modeled the creative impulse in many different and overlapping genres, while always serving as a model for staying true to one's own personal politics in the midst of tremendous racism, sexism, classism, and academic elitism and disciplinary conservatism. Our appreciation for Hurston keeps her alive in our imaginations, and the folklore we share about her and her life is a testament to our continued interest in both her personal and professional life.

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