The half-hour television documentary The Lost Years of Zora Neale Hurston is airing on public television stations across the country. The program is produced by the Florida Historical Society for WUCF TV, and distributed nationally by American Public Television.
In the 1930s and ‘40s, writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston was a celebrated figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Hurston is best remembered for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God and her collection of African American folklore, Mules and Men.
In 1948, Hurston’s reputation and career were destroyed by false accusations that almost drove her to suicide. By the time Hurston died in 1960, she was broke, forgotten, and her books were out of print.
Today, Hurston is again recognized as an important 20th century writer. Until now, though, literary critics and biographers have largely overlooked the last decade of Hurston’s life. This documentary explores The Lost Years of Zora Neale Hurston.
Ben Brotemarkle, producer, writer, and narrator of the program, has been researching and documenting the life and career of Zora Neale Hurston for 25 years. His award winning books include Beyond the Theme Parks: Exploring Central Florida and Crossing Division Street: An Oral History of the African American Community in Orlando. He is producer and host of Florida Frontiers: The Weekly Radio Magazine of the Florida Historical Society.
People interviewed for The Lost Years of Zora Neale Hurston include the late author and activist Stetson Kennedy; Founding Director of the Zora! Festival, N. Y. Nathiri; University of Florida Literary Archivist Flor-ence M. Turcotte; and Virginia Lynn Moylan, author of Zora Neale Hurston’s Final Decade.
The Florida Historical Society produced The Lost Years of Zora Neale Hurston for WUCF TV, Central Florida’s new and only PBS station.The station is dedicated to providing the region with outstanding local and national programming. WUCF TV is available to more than 3.5 million viewers across nine Florida counties.
Established in 1856, the Florida Historical Society (FHS) is the oldest existing cultural organization in the state. Its headquarters are located on Florida’s Space Coast.