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You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays

You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays

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You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays

Hurston, Zora Neale

Edited with an Introduction by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Genevieve West

Encompassing 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—“one of the greatest writers of our time” (Toni Morrison)—showcasing the evolution of her distinctive style as an anthropologist and author.

You Don’t Know Us Negroes adds immeasurably to our understanding of Hurston, who was a tireless crusader in all her writing, and ahead of her time. Though she was often misunderstood, sometimes maligned and occasionally dismissed, her words make it impossible for readers to consider her anything but one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century. Despite facing sexism, racism and general ignorance, Hurston managed to produce a written legacy that, thanks to enduring collections like this one, will engage readers for generations to come.”—New York Times Book Review

You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays 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 birth of the Harlem Renaissance through the early days of the civil rights movement, Hurston’s writing articulates the beauty and authenticity of Black life. Collectively, these essays showcase the roles enslavement and Jim Crow have played in intensifying Black culture rather than destroying it. In surviving, Black people reinterpreted every aspect of American culture—“modifying the language, mode of food preparation, practice of medicine, and most certainly religion.” Hurston lifted the veil white supremacy casts on Black people and revealed the soul of the race.

Demonstrating the breadth of this revered, controversial, and influential writer’s work, You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays is a celebration of the cultural influence of Black people.

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