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. — Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Zora Neale Hurston was a home girl. She rubbed shoulders with the intellectual crowd – Black and White – during the Harlem Renaissance. She traveled throughout the South and the Caribbean studying folklore. But tiny all-Black Eatonville, Fla., where she was raised, was her first love and her literary inspiration. It was the setting for her signature novel (Their Eyes) and other writings. Zora wasn’t ashamed of her country speech or the ways of country people. She cherished it, studied it and preserved it. Her male peers trashed her work, accusing her of reinforcing racial stereotypes and avoiding hard discussions of racism. But in capturing the daily lives, customs, language and challenges of Blacks, especially women, in Jim Crow America – no one did it better than Zora. Listen to her voice as she explains and sings a little raunchy “juke” tune in this rare footage.