Zora Neale Hurston (1901 - 1960)
Singularly dedicated to the preservation of black culture and traditions, Hurston traveled throughout the South collecting folklore and mythology. During the 1930s she was able to garner WPA grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She published several collections of stories, as well as novels and an autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. But by the 1950s, she was no longer able to find any support for her writing and was forced to work as a teacher, a librarian, and even a maid. She suffered a stroke in 1959 and died in 1960 as an indigent and unknown patient in a county welfare home. Thirteen years later the writer Alice Walker and Hurston scholar Charlotte Hunt placed a commemorative tombstone on her previously unmarked grave, reading: "Zora Neale Hurston, a Genius of the South, Novelist, Folklorist, Anthropologist, 1901 - 1960."