The Radical Self-Respect of Zora Neale Hurston

In celebration of feminism and Black History Month!

Bluestockings Magazine

This article was originally published in the 3rd Issue of Bluestockings Magazine.

How do we who are part of marginalized groups build and maintain self-respect in an oppressive culture? How can changing and radicalizing our thinking be translated into actually feeling good about our identities, our sexualities, our race and gender, our bodies, our capabilities? How can we import feminism not only into our thoughts, but also into our emotions, desires, practices, perceptions, our imaginations, and, ultimately, into our sense of worth? The example of Zora Neale Hurston will serve as a small starting point to this huge discussion. The conditions that facilitated her development as a powerful person and radical activist are worth studying; they help us recognize and cultivate conditions that feel supportive to us, the people affected by oppression.

Zora Neale Hurston was one of the most resolute and controversial writers of the Harlem Renaissance, the 1920s…

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