The Google Doodle for Tuesday, Jan. 7 featured the black author with a folksy illustration.
Their eyes were watching Google.
Google’s daily Doodle, the digital image that greets billions of visitors to the site each day, honored Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston yesterday on what would have been her 123rd birthday.
Decked out in a olive green feathered cap and framed by an idyllic Everglades scene, the author’s visage rested on Google’s home page throughout the day.
Sophia Foster-Dimino, the San Francisco-based artist behind the Google Doodle, said she was inspired by the author’s legacy. “She brought an incredible wealth of witty, heartfelt prose to our literary history,” said Foster-Dimino. “We’re overjoyed to celebrate her life and accomplishments today.”
Zora Neale Hurston, arguably the most widely published female writer of her era, was a controversial and flamboyant figure at the Harlem Renaissance.
Hurston, best known for her seminal novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” was born in Florida on Jan. 7, 1913, but she moved to New York in 1925 with only $ 1.50 to her name. She soon became friends with Langston Hughes and Dorothy West.
Carla Kaplan, a professor of American Literature at Northeastern University and author of “Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters,” said the author and anthropologist would be “so tickled” to be praised in such a modern way.
“She was a very private woman who loved publicity,” Kaplan said, adding that Hurston often found herself “wanting others to see that she had a glean or a shine.”
Hurston’s life in Harlem was often stranger than fiction – the scribe once “borrowed” money from a homeless beggar for a subway fare, claiming she needed the money “worse than you today.” She died in poverty in a Florida welfare center in 1960.
“She was always more interested in recognition than she was with money,” Kaplan said.