The Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture


    On Saturday morning I set to go to the Schomburg Center to find out more about Zora Neale Hurston. A very rude lady who did not answer any of my questions met me. She said "there are plenty of books here, go look yourself". Then she stood up and roughly walked over and handed me some books. There was one book that this lady gave me, it did not have any information on Hurston, but I found one myself later on. It is called Contemporary Black Biography Volume 3, editor Barbara Carlisle Bigelow. In this book from page 90 to 95 I found the following:
     Zora Neale Hurston had seven siblings. She lived in a house that was part of the new founded Ethonville in Florida. This neighborhood had two schools, few habitants, and no jails. The Hurston set to build a house that was five acres big. After her mother died she was sent to a boarding school where she graduated from before her peers because she excelled in her classes. She then worked as a maid and as a manicurist in a black owned, whites only barbershop to earn money to go to college. The rest of the chapter discusses the process of going to college, the fact that she got married, and divorced two years later, and the hardships she went though after she graduated, which I will not discuss because we already did when we first started reading her book in the lecture hall. 
     What I find interesting about her life is that is it very similar to what I read in the book. It makes me wonder whether Jaine was in some way a fictional portray of Hurston’s. For example, both Janie and Hurston lived in a new founded town; both of them had a marriage that failed. Unlike the book Hurton went from being an uneducated woman to an educated one meaning that she was looking to improve herself whereas Jaine did not care about education, and it only seemed to me that she was going from good to worse by marrying Tea Cake. This resembles the theme of “self actualization” that we talked about in class. To add on, a second thing that I found interesting is that Hurston worked in a black owned whites only barbershop, perhaps that is where she got her views and thought that resulted in the creation of Mrs. Turner in the book. The lady who wants to lighten up the race. Hurston went through things that would leave anyone in a state of confusion like her father marrying soon after her mother's dead, and his trying to have her school adopt her because he did not want to take care of her. This also resembles Jaines in the sense that she left her first husband for another man, furthermore she remarried soon after her second husband passed away.  Hurton was living on her own by the age of 13, this is traumatic, and again this may be why she had some twisted views about education resembled in the book through a constant desire to self actualize on Mrs. Turner’s part though in a reversed way and racist way.
     After doing research on Zora Neale Hurston I went to the second floor to the Visual Emancipation exhibition. There is a collection of photographs, sculptures, newsletters that show the enslaved and freed black women, men, and children during the civil war and post civil war. In the pictures and painting I could see the hopes of people seeking to be free from slavery. One particularly melted my heart. President Abraham Lincon issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1st of 1863. The painting I saw captured the very first moment when African American slaves were reading the Emancipation Proclamation. The painting is called "Reading The Emancipation Proclamation", the artist is James W. Walts after H.W. Herrick – 1864. The painting portrays poor blacks in a house where women, and children are sitting and kneeling around a table looking up to the man who was holding a newspaper on his hand. There is another man who has a fire lamp on his hand, and he is holding it up to illuminate the man's sigh so he can read the paper. The man who is holding the newspaper is highly surprised, as the painter made his eyes almost popping out of his face in joy of freedom. Everyone else in the picture has a similar expression, the pureness of each person is undeniable, and the joy as well. A man is holding his hat up in the air in sign of celebration, another is kneeling with the women and children praying clapped his hands together. The man reading the newspaper like sheet is like an angel sent from the sky to deliver the news. 
     Even though I was not warmly met when I first got to the Harlem Reinacence at The Schomburg Center For Research in Black Culture, I had a great time seeing the paintings and pictures of the Emancipation Proclamation. I learned more about Zora Neale Hurston, and more about the Emancipation Proclamation and how hard things were for newly freed African American people.
 
PrettyLittleBoobs PrettyLittleBoobs
18-21, F
Dec 7, 2012