Black culture is rich in artifacts, customs and symbols — all of which have been widely imitated in the American mainstream. Author Zora Neale Hurston showed an active interest in the folklore of African-American life. As one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston chronicled the Black experience in unique detail, and provided the scholarly form that in some ways made it possible for someone like Barack Obama to learn his people’s history. Obama is in Hurston’s debt because she engineered the writing of social tolerance that predates his 21st century memoir, “Dreams from My Father.”
VIDEO: Zora Neale Hurston is singing “Uncle Bud” in this clip from the American Masters film on her life.