The era in the 1920's known as the Harlem Renaissance was a great change for African Americans. During the previous decade's Great Migration millions of black Americans moved to the north, settling mostly in Harlem. The Renaissance coincided with the time Zora Neale Hurston, an African American writer, attended and graduated college and began writing. Hurston was an example of culture, diversity, and originality in the Harlem Renaissance.
Zora Neale Hurston was born January 7, 1891 in Eatonville, Florida. Her parents, John and Lucy Ann Hurston, had three other children. Eatonville was one of the first all-black communities in the nation to be self-governed. Zora grew up surrounded by African Americans in all aspects of life. "Eatonville was a unique municipality, one where traditional black culture not only survived but flourished." (Witcover 22) She was very inquisitive, adventurous, intelligent, sassy, and creative. She completed high school at Morgan Academy in Baltimore, where she first became interested in writing. She then went on to college at Howard University in 1919. She left Howard University and moved to New York in 1925, during the Harlem Renaissance.
During her time in Harlem Hurston became a well-known and widely celebrated writer and personality. Her short stories, such as Spunk and Drenched in Light, told stories of life-like events. The African American characters were often based on real life and represented black American's lives in America at the time of the Harlem Renaissance. "She not only developed a dynamic mature style; she had also demonstrated her ability to make sophisticated use of the folklore that had fascinated her all her life." (Witcover 61) In 1936 Hurston wrote her most celebrated novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. The novel is an account of a girl's search for herself and for self-expression. It is also a romantic love story, which is believed to have basis in Hurston's love affair.