LUCY ANNE HURSTON, the niece of Zora Neale Hurston, has produced and hosted two documentaries about her famous aunt and directed the first high school production of Zora’s play, Mule Bone. Lucy is a professor of Sociology at Manchester Community College in Manchester, Connecticut, and lives in Bloomfield, Connecticut.




The Life of Zora Neale Hurston

Doubleday – October 19, 2004

One of the most beguiling and captivating figures of the twentieth century, Zora Neale Hurston gained fame as a bestselling author, anthropologist, journalist, and playwright. Her remarkable life is presented as never before in Speak, So You Can Speak Again. An interactive package tracing Hurston’s journey from Eatonville, Florida, to her student days at Barnard College, to her emergence as a literary star and bestselling author and cultural icon during the Harlem Renaissance and her subsequent decline into obscurity, it contains beautifully crafted facsimiles of historic papers, handwritten notes, photographs, and much more.

Readers will be able to hold in their hands the charred draft notes for the novel, Seraph on the Suwannee; open a Christmas card Hurston created for her friends; and read letters illuminating her relationships with intimate friends and fellow writers like Langston Hughes and Dorothy West. Speak, So You Can Speak Again also provides the extraordinary opportunity to hear Hurston’s own voice talking about her life as a writer on several radio interviews, and, in a powerful interlude, singing a passionate rendition of a railroad worker’s chant she learned while collecting folklore in the Deep South.

Interest in Hurston continues to soar. Her most famous book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was adapted by Oprah Winfrey’s production company, Harpo, into a film for television starring Halle Berry. The sales of her books attest to an ever-growing audience. Whether they are discovering Hurston for the first time or are devoted fans, readers will find hours of entertainment in Speak, So You Can Speak Again.


“This photo-and-facsimile-filled volume offers a marvelous multi-media introduction to one of the most celebrated American writers of the 20th century. Readers can follow Zora Neale Hurston’s life journey, from Eatonville, Fla., (map of the town included) where she was born in 1891, to her years as a student at Howard University (read her first published story, “John Redding Goes to Sea,” reproduced from the campus literary magazine), and then to New York City and Barnard College, where she was the only black student at the time. Copies of typescripts of poems (some never before published) are included, and her success as part of the Harlem Renaissance is touched upon, as well (read her notes for various works and see the cover of the Saturday Review featuring Hurston). But perhaps the item that most brings Hurston to life is the book’s CD of her speaking and singing.”—Publishers Weekly

“The text is a cogent and spirited conjuring of Hurston’s vibrant personality and estimation of her work’s place and importance, but the incredible illustrative matter is the real draw and what makes the book so amazing. The pages are full of arresting photographs as well as many pieces of removable memorabilia and writings in Hurston’s own hand; these “artifacts” have been reproduced so exactly that readers will feel as if they were holding the actual items. Glued into the gutter of one page, for instance, is a beautiful envelope with the stains and smears the original one obviously bears, inside of which are folded a short story reproduced from the pages of Opportunity magazine and a scrap of wrapping paper on which Hurston typed a poem. Further on is an immaculate reproduction of a holiday card Hurston made for her friends: again, looking and feeling exactly like the original. On another page is a pull-out cover of a Saturday Review issue featuring Hurston on the cover. And then there is a facsimile of an entire sketchbook in which she kept notes for her novel Herod the Great. And more and more.”—Booklist, Starred Review

“A literary gem…this book has the feel of an intimate, family scrapbook…a wonderful slice of history.”—Color Online

Praise for Luce Anne Hurston’s speaking engagements

Lucy Anne,

Thank you. You were so gracious and kind to take time out of your hectic schedule to enlighten and invigorate our students and faculty. We appreciate your husband’s willingness to take time from his schedule as well. Thank you both, so much.

Everyone I have spoken with has raved about your presentation. You gave our campus the ‘pick-me-up’ we needed right before midterms. I was tutoring a student this afternoon and he brought up your presentation. He was truly inspired by your story. He is an immigrant from Africa and feels compelled to succeed having heard your account of being a single mother beginning your education at 31. He was truly impressed! We all were. We know it is not impossible, but the possibilities you presented left a lot of us introspective; you challenged us all to do more. Thank you!

The young lady you gave a book to was also aglow, as was her mother. Her mother, Kathryn, is one of my students in the African American Literature class. Her daughter, Mecca, has experienced some horrific acts against her and was highly disengaged for a long time. According to Kathryn, your presentation and personal attention brought Mecca back from the abyss she was hiding herself in.

I could go on and on, but I know you are pressed for time. I just wanted you to know that your presence left a mark on our community. We really appreciate your personable and approachable demeanor. ‘Thank you’ is not enough to say but the only words I can think to use.

I will check with Laurel and Belinda, the Department Chairperson and Administrative Assistant respectively, on the sale of your books and give you an update at the end of the week.

Should the opportunity present itself, please come back and visit with us again.

Professor Donna Gordon, M.L.A.
Faculty, HCCS Southwest English Department
October 20, 2009


Jessica SpiveyH