Funny where you find a birthday girl when you bother to look for her — even right down the street from our apartment, according to Carolyn Jones’ “Putting the art in BART”

The metal panel, which was installed two weeks ago in front of De Lauer’s news stand on Broadway, is called “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” from the Zora Neale Hurston novel. It features a central area adorned with eyes glancing expectantly in different directions, surrounded by a representation of the Oakland hills.

Bates said: “It’s supposed to suggest that something is about to happen, something is about to be born, and you never know what you’re going to get.” […]

And then there’s the play, the stamps (coming Jan. 24) and those new biographies.

Bit of a contrary spirit, though, eh?

NOLA.com, Susan Larson, “Wrapped in Rainbows”

[…] And there is the complete text of her letter to the Orlando Sentinel decrying the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. “How much satisfaction can I get from a court order for somebody to associate with me who does not wish me near them? . . . I can see no tragedy in being too dark to be invited to a white school social affair.” […]

San Francisco Chronicle, Nia-Malika Henderson, “Her own muse”

In the fall of 1939, when noted folklorist and writer Zora Neale Hurston began her tenure at the North Carolina College for Negroes in Durham, an all-white theater group from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill invited her to present her plans for creating a Negro folk theater and a drama department. And, as was often the case, Hurston began her talk with a colorful story: While she was driving to the segregated campus in her convertible, a university student yelled out to Hurston, “Hi, nigger.” Not content to have anything other than the last word, she replied, “Hi, freshman!”

While it is impossible to know whether or not the audience understood that Hurston’s joke was on their closely held Southern mores, many were undoubtedly taken aback by the thought of a colored woman driving a car, and a convertible no less. And surely in recounting an ordinary racist exchange, and recasting it as a joke, Hurston was again setting herself up as a fiercely independent thinker on matters of race. At a time when black artists like Richard Wright and Billie Holiday were concerned with lynchings, Zora Neale Hurston was making a race joke in the hotbed of the South. For anyone who had read her 1928 essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” where Hurston insisted that she wanted no part of “the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it,” her flippancy was no surprise. […]

Bonus round: “Mules and Men” and Village Voice, A.J. Verdelle, “The Largesse of Zora Neale Hurston”

Leave a Reply