Mobile, Alabama, July 1927. Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, two of the leading exponents of the Harlem Renaissance, meet by chance and travel together on a road trip in the southern United States. This book investigates the legacy of that journey in their lives and works, touching on wide-ranging issues such as the debate on ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Negroes, the role of folklore and collective memory, the connection between orality and voodoo, the question of the authenticity of African-American culture, the relation between orature and literature, the importance of black vernacular culture, and the methods of anthropological fieldwork. An analysis of literary case studies from their production reveals how these issues were essential for the development of an enfranchised African-American cultural mindset. Still topical today, Zora and Langston’s groundbreaking contribution functions as an effective cultural resource fostering education to oppose racial discrimination.
Zora Neale Hurston
1. Heading South
2. “Characteristics of Negro Expression”
3. Wandering Dixieland
4. “Aunt Sue’s Stories”: folklore and collective memory