Sammy Nickalls
January 07, 2016 2:25 pm

Undoubtedly, 125 years ago the world was a much different place. And undoubtedly, if Zora Neale Hurston hadn’t been born on January 7, 1891, the world today would be totally different, too.

Hurston — novelist, short story writer, anthropologist, folklorist, and trailblazer — was a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance, and even decades after her death, we all remember her beautiful words and work still shake mountains. Her most popular novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), affirmed her as a staple of history and literature, as well as cementing her as feminist icon.

During her life, Hurston lived in near obscurity, and her work was not well-known until after her passing. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Florida, her body of work largely overlooked until writer Alice Walker began reviving her writing and bringing it back to the spotlight, where it belonged.

In honor of her 125th birthday, here are a few of her quotes that hit us right in the heart, every single time.

“I have known the joy and pain of friendship. I have served and been served. I have made some good enemies for which I am not a bit sorry. I have loved unselfishly, and I have fondled hatred with the red-hot tongs of Hell. That’s living.” — Zora Neale Hurston

“I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.” — Zora Neale Hurston

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” — Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.” — Zora Neale Hurston

“No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” — Zora Neale Hurston

“Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships.” — Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

“No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep.” — Zora Neale Hurston

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” — Zora Neale Hurston

“Love is like the sea. It’s a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.” — Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Bitterness is the coward’s revenge on the world for having been hurt.” — Zora Neale Hurston

“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.” — Zora Neale Hurston

Happy birthday, Zora Neale Hurston. We think of you today, and feel humbled by the beauty and power of your words.

[Image via twitter]

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