Dust Tracks on a Road

(Memoir; J. B. Lippincott, 1942)

In the introduction to Zora Neale Hurston’s autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road (2010 edition), Maya Angelou notes that Hurston often proclaimed herself “Queen of the Niggerati.” This controversial braggadocio was delivered with a dose of sarcasm, underscoring the fact that Hurston believed herself to be a writer of a particular time and place. At the height of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, Hurston was part of a group of young black writers that included Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman, and for a time she was one of the few women writers to receive a level of recognition comparable to that enjoyed by her male contemporaries. Although she went on to publish four novels, two books of folklore, and scores of essays, short stories, and plays, by the time she died in Fort Pierce, Florida, in 1960, Hurston was little read or sought after by major publishers.

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