The Harlem Renaissance was the time for a cultural celebration. To find the new freedom that had been promised by the end of bondage, African Americans migrated to the North in great numbers. Here they found a new freedom and expressed themselves in an explosion of cultural pride.
This program/concert will present to you Phyllis McEwen portraying Zora Neale Hurston, a renowned black author during the Harlem Renaissance. Poet Phyllis McEwen is a Chautauqua scholar and Florida Humanities Council performance artist. She is a librarian for Tampa Hillsborough County Public Library System and instructor in the Dept. of Africana Studies at the University of South Florida.
McEwen will share the life and thoughts of Hurston, the most significant black woman writer of the first half of the 20th century. Over a career that spanned more than 30 years, Hurston published four novels, two books of folklore, an autobiography, numerous short stories, and several essays, articles and plays. She was notoriously charming among contemporaries, and influenced more than a generation of subsequent black writers.
Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was about a proud, independent black woman and was first published in 1937 and was generally dismissed by male reviewers. Out of print for almost 30 years, it was reissued in paperback edition in 1978, and has become the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African American literature.
I'll be playing along with Ron Gregg on drums, Vincent Sims on guitar, "Stretch" Bruyn on piano and James Suggs on trumpet will play Jazz and blues reflecting the sounds of the Harlem Renaissance era. And there will be a special performance by my sister, Kristal Walker singing classic songs by Duke Ellington!