You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays Summary and Reviews

You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays

by Zora Neale Hurston

You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays by Zora Neale Hurston X
You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays by Zora Neale Hurston
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 18, 2022
    464 pages
    Genre: Essays

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Book Summary

Spanning more than 35 years of work, the first comprehensive collection of essays, criticism, and articles by the legendary author of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, showcasing the evolution of her distinctive style as an archivist and author.

You Don't Know Us Negroes is the quintessential gathering of provocative essays from one of the world's most celebrated writers, Zora Neale Hurston. Spanning more than three decades and penned during the backdrop of the birth of the Harlem Renaissance, Montgomery bus boycott, desegregation of the military, and school integration, Hurston's writing articulates the beauty and authenticity of Black life as only she could. Collectively, these essays showcase the roles enslavement and Jim Crow have played in intensifying Black people's inner lives and culture rather than destroying it. She argues that in the process of surviving, Black people re-interpreted every aspect of American culture—"modif[ying] the language, mode of food preparation, practice of medicine, and most certainly religion." White supremacy prevents the world from seeing or completely recognizing Black people in their full humanity and Hurston made it her job to lift the veil and reveal the heart and soul of the race. These pages reflect Hurston as the controversial figure she was—someone who stated that feminism is a mirage and that the integration of schools did not necessarily improve the education of Black students. Also covered is the sensational trial of Ruby McCollum, a wealthy Black woman convicted in 1952 for killing her lover, a white doctor.

Demonstrating the breadth of this revered and influential writer's work, You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays is an invaluable chronicle of a writer's development and a window into her world and mind.

Introduction by New York Times bestselling author Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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"[A] showstopping collection...Whether reporting on the injustices of the criminal justice system, poking holes in the pomposity of Marcus Garvey, or drawing a character sketch of a Black Florida cattle rancher, Hurston's work stands out for its wit and range. This will delight her fans, and should garner her some new ones." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[T]renchant, acerbic...Edited, introduced, and extensively annotated by scholars Gates and West, 50 essays written over nearly four decades showcase the uncompromising views of novelist, anthropologist, folklorist, and critic Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)...Vigorous writings from a controversial and important cultural critic." - Kirkus Reviews

"This volume enables readers both steeped in and new to Hurston to discover her acerbic wit, her crisp prose, and the breadth of her artistic ability and interests...an invaluable nonfiction companion to the collection of Hurston's short stories." - Booklist

This information about You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist. An author of four novels (Jonah's Gourd Vine, 1934; Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937; Moses, Man of the Mountain, 1939; and Seraph on the Suwanee, 1948); two books of folklore (Mules and Men, 1935, and Tell My Horse, 1938); an autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942); and over fifty short stories, essays, and plays. She attended Howard University, Barnard College and Columbia University, and was a graduate of Barnard College in 1927. She was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, and grew up in Eatonville, Florida. She died in Fort Pierce, in 1960. In 1973, Alice Walker had a headstone placed at her gravesite with this epitaph: "Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South."

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