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Zora Neale Hurston was an African American writer She grew up in an all black town of Eatonville Florida Zora was born January 7 1903 When she was young her father John Hurston tried to crush her spirit However her mother urged all eight of her children to be ambitious This encouragement made Zora continue her writing skills Hurstons writings reflect her immersion in black folk life Racism played a relatively minor role in her fiction Out of the many books she wrote she was self possessed and self confident enough to deal with racism Zora did not have to deal with the early abrasive contracts with racist whites that had deeply influenced almost all other Afro-American writers Zora lost her mother at a young age and this caused her father to remarry quickly after her death She despised her stepmother so much that she decided to leave her home Zora later decided to drop out of school For several years she wandered from house to house of family and friends At the age of 16 she worked as a maid for a white singer After about 18 months she moved to Baltimore A while after she arrived Zora was ready to renew her education After she waited tables for a while she returned to night school Hurston attended Morgan College in the high school department for two years She also won a scholarship to Barnard College She then continued school at Howard University in nearby Washington She was influenced by Lorenzo D Tuner of the Department of English Alain Locke a member of a campus literary group known as The Stylus also encouraged her writing efforts She was also the favorite pupil of the great Franz Boas She wrote Drenched in Light and it was soon published by Charles S Johnson in December 1924 In New York 1925 Zora won second prize in the opportunity competition for both short story and
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