Zora Neale Hurston, a prolific American author, as well as anthropologist, was born on the 7th January 1891 and passed away on the 28th January 1960. She was born in Alabama, after which her family moved to Florida and used this area as the location for many of her future novels. She had such an impact on this area of the world, that they hold a yearly festival in her honour.
Unsurprisingly, her focus was of the racial discrimination in the early 1900s in the south of the United States, as well as researching the practice of Hoodoo, an African American spirituality concept. As well as producing four novels including Their Eyes Were Watching God, her most successful, she was also the author of over 50 plays, essays and short stories.
She continued writing throughout her life, creating anthropology on African-American folklore, as well as being a figurehead for the Harlem Renaissance. More specific than simply the struggles of Africa-Americans during this time, was her focus on the struggles of African-American women, resonating with some many people at the time and in the subsequent years, particularly during the civil rights movements in the 20th century.
You cannot help but be inspired by her quotations and that is why we felt it so important to include hers on this website.
1. There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
2. Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
3. I love myself when I am laughing. . . and then again when I am looking mean and impressive.
4. Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.
5. If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.
6. Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships.
7. Love is like the sea. It’s a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.
8. Bitterness is the coward’s revenge on the world for having been hurt.
9. Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.
10. She had waited all her life for something, and it had killed her when it found her.
11. Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
12. Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.
13. No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep.
14. She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them.
15. A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.
16. I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.
17. I made up my mind to keep my feelings to myself since they did not seem to matter to anyone else but me.
18. She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her.
19. She didn’t read books so she didn’t know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop.
20. So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day.
21. Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place.
22. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.
23. It was the meanest moment of eternity.
24. I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands.
25. There is no single face in nature, because every eye that looks upon it, sees it from its own angle. So every man’s spice-box seasons his own food.
26. …she starched and ironed her face, forming it into just what people wanted to see…
27. If you want that good feeling that comes from doing things for other folks then you have to pay for it in abuse and misunderstanding.
28. An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.
29. Her old thoughts were going to come in handy now, but new words would have to be made and said to fit them.
30. Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at the sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.
31. Oh to be a pear tree – any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world!
32. He looked like the love thoughts of women.
33. You heard me. You ain’t blind.
34. Nothing that God ever made is the same thing to more than one
35. Please God, please suh, don’t let him love nobody else but me. Maybe Ah’m is uh fool, Lawd, lak dey say, but Lawd, Ah been so lonesome, and Ah been waitin’, Jesus. Ah done waited uh long time.
36. Grown people know that they do not always know the way of things, and even if they think they know, they do not know where and how they got the proof.
37. You’se something tuh make uh man forgit to git old and forgit tuh die.
38. Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches
39. There is nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them.
40. Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.
41. It seems to me that trying to live without friends is like milking a bear to get cream for your morning coffee. It is a whole lot of trouble, and then not worth much after you get it.
42. She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen.
43. And I can’t die easy thinking maybe the menfolks white or black is
making a spit cup out of you. Have some sympathy for me. Put me down easy, Janie, I’m a cracked plate.
44. My head was full of misty fumes of doubt.
45. Mystery is the essence of divinity
46. He was the average mortal. It troubled him to get used to the world one way and then suddenly have it turn different.
47. Look lak she been livin’ through uh hundred years in January without one day of spring.
48. The sun had become a light yellow yolk and was walking with red legs across the sky.
49. My sense of humor will always stand in the way of my seeing myself, my family, my race or my nation as the whole intent of the universe.
50. Anytime you catch folks lying, they scared of something!
51. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.
52. I will fight for my country, but I will not lie for her.
53. In the cool afternoon the fiend from hell specifically sent to lovers arrived at Janie’s ear. Doubt.
54. No, I do not weep at the world. I’m too busy sharpening my oyster knife.
55. There is two things everybody got to find out for theirselves. They got to find out about love and they got to find out about living.
56. The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.
57. Night came walking through Egypt swishing her black dress.
58. It is one of the blessings of this world that few people see visions and dream dreams.
59. When one is too old for love, one finds great comfort in good dinners.
60. They bowed down to him rather, because he was all of these things, and then again he was all of these things because the town bowed down.