Friday, June 27, 2008

Zora Neale Hurston, Segregationist

An interesting post on the great Zora Neale Hurston, who was "by far the leading black figure on the libertarian old right" — Segregation:
    Hurston opposed the end of segregation. A prominent black intellectual, a prominent member of the Harlem renaissance, opposed the end of segregation in the United States for what she believed would be its inevitable damage to black culture and distinctiveness. Integration, she argued, would only reinforce the idea that the only notable difference was skin color, and encourage ethnic identity as opposed to cultural identity. Essentially, she believed segregation was a good thing, ultimately, in allowing the development of a strong, well-defined black culture that was a good and wonderful thing, which she experienced during her formative years, and which she ceaselessly advocated. In her writing for Fire! Magazine, which she published alongside Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman, she argued that black writers should not abandon dialect-writing; where some maintained that it further reinforced the idea that blacks were to be subordinate, Hurston held that strong dialect was essential to black culture, and should be clutched tightly and cherished.
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by the way, is a great read, hard at first because of the dialect until the reader realizes that the dialogue should be read aloud.

[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

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