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You Don't Know Us Negroes
Cover of You Don't Know Us Negroes
You Don't Know Us Negroes
And Other Essays

Introduction by New York Times bestselling author Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Spanning more than 35 years of work, the first comprehensive collection of essays, criticism, and articles by the legendary author of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, showcasing the evolution of her distinctive style as an archivist and author.

"One of the greatest writers of our time."—Toni Morrison

You Don't Know Us Negroes is the quintessential gathering of provocative essays from one of the world's most celebrated writers, Zora Neale Hurston. Spanning more than three decades and penned during the backdrop of the birth of the Harlem Renaissance, Montgomery bus boycott, desegregation of the military, and school integration, Hurston's writing articulates the beauty and authenticity of Black life as only she could. Collectively, these essays showcase the roles enslavement and Jim Crow have played in intensifying Black people's inner lives and culture rather than destroying it. She argues that in the process of surviving, Black people re-interpreted every aspect of American culture—"modif[ying] the language, mode of food preparation, practice of medicine, and most certainly religion." White supremacy prevents the world from seeing or completely recognizing Black people in their full humanity and Hurston made it her job to lift the veil and reveal the heart and soul of the race. These pages reflect Hurston as the controversial figure she was—someone who stated that feminism is a mirage and that the integration of schools did not necessarily improve the education of Black students. Also covered is the sensational trial of Ruby McCollum, a wealthy Black woman convicted in 1952 for killing her lover, a white doctor.

Demonstrating the breadth of this revered and influential writer's work, You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays is an invaluable chronicle of a writer's development and a window into her world and mind.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

Introduction by New York Times bestselling author Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Spanning more than 35 years of work, the first comprehensive collection of essays, criticism, and articles by the legendary author of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, showcasing the evolution of her distinctive style as an archivist and author.

"One of the greatest writers of our time."—Toni Morrison

You Don't Know Us Negroes is the quintessential gathering of provocative essays from one of the world's most celebrated writers, Zora Neale Hurston. Spanning more than three decades and penned during the backdrop of the birth of the Harlem Renaissance, Montgomery bus boycott, desegregation of the military, and school integration, Hurston's writing articulates the beauty and authenticity of Black life as only she could. Collectively, these essays showcase the roles enslavement and Jim Crow have played in intensifying Black people's inner lives and culture rather than destroying it. She argues that in the process of surviving, Black people re-interpreted every aspect of American culture—"modif[ying] the language, mode of food preparation, practice of medicine, and most certainly religion." White supremacy prevents the world from seeing or completely recognizing Black people in their full humanity and Hurston made it her job to lift the veil and reveal the heart and soul of the race. These pages reflect Hurston as the controversial figure she was—someone who stated that feminism is a mirage and that the integration of schools did not necessarily improve the education of Black students. Also covered is the sensational trial of Ruby McCollum, a wealthy Black woman convicted in 1952 for killing her lover, a white doctor.

Demonstrating the breadth of this revered and influential writer's work, You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays is an invaluable chronicle of a writer's development and a window into her world and mind.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

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About the Author-
  • Zora Neale Hurston was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist. An author of four novels (Jonah's Gourd Vine, 1934; Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937; Moses, Man of the Mountain, 1939; and Seraph on the Suwanee, 1948); two books of folklore (Mules and Men, 1935, and Tell My Horse, 1938); an autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942); and over fifty short stories, essays, and plays. She attended Howard University, Barnard College and Columbia University, and was a graduate of Barnard College in 1927. She was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, and grew up in Eatonville, Florida. She died in Fort Pierce, in 1960. In 1973, Alice Walker had a headstone placed at her gravesite with this epitaph: "Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South."

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Robin Miles narrates this audiobook with empathy and a sure sense of Hurston's literary voice. She arranges her pace and adapts her tone in ways that give listeners access to the author's idiosyncratic brilliance. Capturing Hurston's intonations and invigorating her varied essays with an understanding of the author's intentions help reveal her meanings and bring Hurston's world vividly to life. Whether it be the title story in which she argues that African Americans have been so stereotyped in literature that their real lived experience has not been expressed or her controversial takes on segregated education or her detailed reporting of the 1952 Ruby McCollum murder trial, Miles's narration works. Listeners hear her nuances and gain an appreciation for her as a folklorist, literary stylist, and deft journalist. A.D.M. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2022

    What is there to say about Hurston that hasn't already been said? One of the most lauded writers of the 20th century, particularly with regard to her work during the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston defies categorization. The importance of sharing and celebrating her work should not be understated, and this collection of essays (edited by Genevieve West and Henry Louis Gates Jr.) does just that. It spans 35 years of Hurston's prolific career, allowing listeners to hear her develop as a writer, critic, and archivist of African American art and culture. The collection includes some of her last published works, written during the early years of the civil rights movement. Truly a joy to listen to, the thematically grouped essays cover a breadth of subjects: politics, African folklore, gender, race, and Black art's significance in American culture. The spectacularly talented narrator Robin Miles imbues these most important works with the gravitas and flair they deserve. VERDICT The essays and their subject matter are made all the more impactful by the truly moving experience of listening to Miles's interpretation of Hurston's words.--Anna Clark

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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You Don't Know Us Negroes
And Other Essays
Zora Neale Hurston
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