In a Minor Chord: Three Afro-American Writers and Their Search for Identity

By Darwin T. Turner | Go to book overview

3 Zora Neale Hurston The Wandering Minstrel

Zora Neale Hurston was a wanderer. Born five months earlier than Countee Cullen, on January 7, 1903, in the all-black community of Eatonville, Florida, she experienced security and domesticity only during the first nine years of her life. For that brief period, she lived with her father, whom she loved and respected even when she was annoyed by his too complacent acceptance of the Southern social system, his indolent drifting with fortune's winds, his unministerial philandering, and his inability to understand her. Tolerated by her father, she was protected by her mother, who understood and encouraged her daughter's impudence, curiosity, and imagination. As Miss Hurston proclaimed in her autobiography, life in Eatonville was pleasant despite the limited financial income of the family.1 Perhaps her family could not afford to buy the current fashions for her, but they provided clothing which protected her from the Florida climate and from immodesty. The family budget rarely afforded such delicacies as beef and apples; but the family garden provided ample stores of vegetables and fruit, and the poultry house assured a supply of meat and eggs. Snug in the family nest, Zora Neale Hurston was chilled only by her certainty that her father favored an older brother and worshipped an older sister.2

From 1912 until her death in 1960, Zora Neale Hurston wandered, rarely remaining in one locality for

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In a Minor Chord: Three Afro-American Writers and Their Search for Identity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • 1 - Jean Toomer: Exile 1
  • 2 - Countee Cullen: The Lost Ariel 60
  • 3 - Zora Neale Hurstun: The Wandering Mistrel 89
  • Selected Bibliography 138
  • Index 148
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