A fiercely independent woman who was even more powerful with her pen, Zora Neale Hurston was an undisputed proponent for Black expression in the 20th century. A woman with a complicated upbringing, her first-hand experiences served as subject matters to some of her most popular manuscripts. Scholars can’t mention the Harlem Renaissance without crediting the trained anthropologist, because Hurston emerged as one of the most acknowledged faces of the movement for Black deliverance. 

Bouts of depression, false accusations of sexual assault and massive debt plagued her later years, leading her to a life of obscurity until her death in 1960 at the age of 69. However, contemporary anthropologists and authors remain indebted to Hurston for her contributions in advancing Black literature. Here are some of her finest works that support this claim: