How Zora Neale Hurston Helped Her Readers Understand the World

Today, 7 January 2016, marks what would have been the 125th birthday of American author Zora Neale Hurston. Best known for her book “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” Hurston’s words exposed the violent realities of black people in America to the rest of the world. As essayist Roger Rosenblatt explains in TIME, Hurston’s books helped the nation understand the challenges of being an outsider in a society dominated by white people: “A young black girl like Janie of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel… may see that she is beautiful, but how can black be beautiful if the standard of beauty is to be white, blond, fair?”