Zora Neale Hurston didn’t want to be a black writer, at least not in the way that others insisted on it: “From what I had read and heard, Negroes were supposed to write about the Race Problem. I was and am thoroughly sick of the subject,” she wrote in her 1942 memoir, Dust Tracks on a Road. “My interest lies in what makes a man or a woman do such-and-such regardless of his color.”
If she sounds sort of like a conservative, that’s because she was one. The author of what is arguably the most celebrated novel by an African-American …
This article appears as “Zora the Explorer” in the December 22, 2019, print edition of National Review.