Robert Hemenway: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston

Soul of a People: Writing America's Story
Former KU chancellor Robert Hemenway discusses his landmark biography of Zora Neale Hurston
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
8:30 pm
Event Photos
RSVP Required

The Kansas City Public Library hosts Robert Hemenway for a discussion called Jump at the Sun: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston on Tuesday, October 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Before the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), Zora Neale Hurston was a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance and published her masterwork Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) while researching ethnology in Haiti. In April 1938, she became an editor for the Florida edition of the American Guide series and supervisor for the Negro unit of the state FWP. The Library of Congress retains several songs and oral histories Hurston recorded during her brief tenure. Though she died impoverished and obscure, her works influenced a generation of writers, including Alice Walker.

Recommended reading:
Federal Writers' Project

Hemenway is University of Kansas Chancellor emeritus and a research fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities. He is author of Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography, an important contribution to the critical reassessment and public rediscovery of Hurston. 

Admission is free. Call 816.701.3407 to RSVP. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage located at 10th and Baltimore.

This presentation is co-sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities.

The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) helped define America and American literature by supporting literary talent during the Great Depression. In association with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, the Kansas City Public Library commemorates the 75th anniversary of this New Deal program with a series of free events throughout September and October 2009, including a screening of the documentary Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story.

Soul of a People programs at the Kansas City Public Library are sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.