One author who received unimaginably poor treatment when one considers her contribution to letters was Zora Neale Hurston. I recently watched a documentary and learned that The Works Progress Administration under FDR initially funded her writing. During her lifetime, she was vilified for the oddest of reasons (in my mind). She believed that her people should take care of themselves. Of course she understood Jim Crow and all the horrible injustices of her era. Yet she still wanted equality based on effort and not entitlement.
She probably wouldn’t get very far today with that approach. This has zero to do with skin color, as we have all sorts of strange conceptions about who should get what from those who work for it. But I’m not a social scientist. My sole purpose is to ask anyone who has never read THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD to pick up a copy. My softback version came with awful, tacky green artwork on the cover. No better example exists when saying never to judge a book by its cover.
Ms. Hurston is a genuine heroine, in my eyes. Of all the writers I’ve read–with Faulkner still leading the pack in literary terms only–she remains the one above all others I wish I could have met. I have that much respect for her ability to tell a story in the most magical of ways. And all this while in the throes of what I believe it is fair to describe as enormous obstacles. May she truly rest in peace.