Zora Neale Hurston, on the 123rd anniversary of her birth, joins an elite group of African-Amercans honored by Google Doodles. An artist’s rendition of the Google logo her likeness appeared Janary 7th on the Gogle homepage. She now joins Miriam Makeba, Ella Fitzgerald and Martin Luther King in the Google Doodle archives.
Born on Jan. 7, 1891 in Alabama, Hurston was considered one of the most influential black authors of the twentieth century. Raised in Florida, she later moved to Harlem. There she befriended and influeced Harlem Renaissance literary artists such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen.
In 1920, she graduated with an associate degree from Howard, and an anthropology scholarship to Barnard college. Hurston’s work included four novels, most notable Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) , dozens of short stories, plays and essays.
Despite her iconic status today, she struggled to be published. Her associations with the likes of Langston Hughes did not keep her from dying poor in 1960. Her talent and influence are undeniable but she was not fully appreciated during her time. Alice Walker helped revive modern interest with the 1975 essay “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston”. Hurston’s house in Fort Pierce is now a National Historic Landmark. TIME magazine listed her among its 50 cultural giants in African-American history.