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Zora Neale Hurston Education

The American writer Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) spent her childhood growing up in Florida. However, when her father remarried after the death of her mother, the young girl left home and began wandering across America without having finished high school.

By 1917, the 26-year-old Hurston was in Baltimore. In order to qualify for a scholarship to attend Morgan College, the high-school division of Morgan State University, one of the nation’s historically black colleges, Hurston dropped ten years off her age. For the rest of her life, it was assumed that Zora Neale Hurston was born in 1901.

Zora Neale Hurston Education

After graduating from Morgan College in 1918, Hurston attended Howard University, another preeminent historically black college. There, she co-founded The Hilltop, the university’s student newspaper. She took courses in Spanish, English and Greek and earned her associate’s degree in 1920. While at Howard, her first short story “John Redding Goes to Sea” was published, gaining her notoriety and a scholarship to attend Barnard College at Columbia University, where she was the only African American student.

At Barnard, Zora Hurston studied ethnographic research under anthropologist Ruth Benedict alongside fellow student Margaret Mead. She later taught at North Carolina College for Negroes and established a school of dramatic arts at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida.

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