Writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (pictured) was one of the most-outstanding authors that emerged from the Harlem Renaissance. Over the course of four novels, an autobiography, and dozens of published writings, Hurston has been an inspiration for distinguished writers, such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Ralph Ellison, and countless others.
Hurston was the fifth of eight children born to her parents, John and Lucy Ann, in the small town of Notasulga in Alabama. The family uprooted when she was just a toddler, making their new home in Eatonville, Fla. Her father, a preacher, would become mayor of the town, which was one of the first all-black incorporated cities in the United States. After the death of her school teacher mother in 1904, her father remarried and she was sent to boarding school in nearby Jacksonville. Hurston was later expelled after her father stopped paying the tuition.