Zora Neale Hurston Panel
Monday February 24: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Purchase a copy of I Love Myself When I am Laughing, Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick or a $5 gift card in-store to attend this event. The event will take place in the Rare Book Room on the Strand's 3rd floor.
Doors open 30 minutes before the start of the event.
“I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.”
- Letter from Zora Neale Hurston to Countee Cullen
Join us in the Rare Book Room for a panel discussion celebrating the inimitable Zora Neale Hurston and her enduring impact on literature. The panel will be moderated by Rachel Cargle and feature Mahogany L. Browne, Morgan Jerkins and Jamia Wilson. We’ll also be celebrating two new releases of Zora Neale Hurston’s works - I Love Myself When I am Laughing & Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick.
I Love Myself When I am Laughing is a Feminist Press classic, reissued 40 years later and edited with a new note by writer and activist Alice Walker and an introduction by Mary Helen Washington. During her lifetime, Zora Neale Hurston was praised for her writing but condemned for her independence and audacity. Her work fell into obscurity until the 1970s, when Alice Walker rediscovered Hurston’s unmarked grave and anthologized her writing, establishing her as an intellectual leader for future generations of black writers. A testament to the power and breadth of Hurston’s oeuvre, the newest edition of this enduring text remains as vital as ever for readers today.
Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions.
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist whose fictional and factual accounts of black heritage remain unparalleled. Her many books include Dust Tracks on a Road; Their Eyes Were Watching God; Jonah's Gourd Vine; Moses, Man of the Mountain; Mules and Men; and Every Tongue Got to Confess.
Born on Jan. 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, Hurston moved with her family to Eatonville, Florida, when she was still a toddler. Her writings reveal no recollection of her Alabama beginnings. For Hurston, Eatonville was always home. By 1935, Hurston–who’d graduated from Barnard College in 1928–had published several short stories and articles, as well as a novel (Jonah’s Gourd Vine) and a well-received collection of black Southern folklore (Mules and Men). But the late 1930s and early 1940s marked the real zenith of her career. She published her masterwork, Their Eyes Were Watching God, in 1937; Tell My Horse, her study of Caribbean Voodoo practices, in 1938; and another masterful novel, Moses, Man of the Mountain, in 1939. When her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, was published in 1942, Hurston finally received the well-earned acclaim that had long eluded her. That year, she was profiled in Who’s Who in America, Current Biography and Twentieth Century Authors. She went on to publish another novel, Seraph on the Suwanee, in 1948.
Rachel Cargle is a public academic, writer, and lecturer. Her activist and academic work are rooted in providing intellectual discourse, tools, and resources that explore the intersection of race and womanhood. Her social media platforms boast a community of over 312k where Rachel guides conversations, encourages critical thinking and nurtures meaningful engagement with people all over the world. Her first book, I Don’t Want Your Love And Light, was acquired by Dial Press and is set for publication in 2021.
Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer & educator, and Interim Executive Director of Urban Word NYC & Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby & Black Girl Magic (Macmillan), Kissing Caskets (Yes Yes Books) and Dear Twitter (Penmanship Books). She is also the founder of Woke Baby Book Fair (a nationwide diversity literature campaign) & as an Arts for Justice grantee, is completing her first book of essays on mass incarceration, investigating its impact on women and children. She resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Morgan Jerkins is the Senior Editor at ZORA and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Her debut essay collection, This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America (Harper Perennial 2018), was a New York Times bestseller and longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Her second book, Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots, is forthcoming in May 2020 from Harper Books. Her other work has been featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and Elle, among many others.
Jamia Wilson is a feminist activist, writer, and speaker. As director of the Feminist Press at the City University of New York and the former VP of programs at the Women’s Media Center, Jamia has been a leading voice on women’s rights issues for over a decade. Her work has appeared in numerous outlets, including the New York Times, the Today Show, CNN, Elle, BBC, Rookie, Refinery 29, Glamour, Teen Vogue, and The Washington Post. She is the author of Young, Gifted, and Black, the introduction and oral history in Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World, Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on How to Live Your Best Life, ABC's of AOC, and the co-author of Roadmap for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Advocacy, and Activism for All. Learn more at www.jamiawilson.com
Bridgett M. Davis is the author of the memoir, The World According To Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life In The Detroit Numbers, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, and named a Best Book of 2019 by Kirkus Reviews, BuzzFeed, NBC News and Parade Magazine. She is also the author of two novels, Into the Go-Slow and Shifting Through Neutral, shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Award. She is writer/director of the award-winning feature film Naked Acts, and a creative writing and journalism professor at Baruch College in New York. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Millions, Real Simple, the LA Times, Salon and O, Oprah Magazine. A graduate of Spelman College and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, she lives in Brooklyn with her family. Visit her website at www.bridgettdavis.com.