For this week I am exploring two anthropologists, Zora Neal Hurston and Margaret Mead. Zora Neal Hurston is a writer, and Margaret Mead is an American cultural anthropologist. These two anthropologists have interesting backgrounds and experiences that made them the wonderful people they are.
Zora Neal Hurston
Zora Neal Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama, On January 7, 1891, where her father grew up, and he grandfather was a preacher of a Baptist church. When she was three, she moved to Eatonville, Florida which it was one of the first all-black towns to be incorporated in the United States. Hurston always felt that Eatonville was here “home” and she claimed it has her birthplace. Her father became mayor of the town in 1897. Hurston glorified Eatonville in her novels as a place where African-Americans could live independent of white society. A school teacher gave Zora numerous books that opened her mind to literature. In 1928 there is an essay on her experiences growing up in Eatonville called “How It Feels to Be Colored Me.”
While exploring some the works by Hurston I came across one of her books titled, “Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life In Haiti and Jamaica.” This book is based on her accounts with participating in voodoo practices during her visits in the 1930s. This book was particularly interesting to me because my mother is from Jamaica.She would tell me stories of her childhood in Jamaica and some ghost stories and superstitions from Jamaica.
Margaret Mead was born on December 16, 1901, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. She entered DePauw University in 1919and transferred to Barnard College a year later. She graduated in 1923 and went to graduate school at Colombia University. In 1925 she had many trips to the South Seas where she collected information for her first of her 23 books, “Coming of Age in Samoa.” The text indicates her beliefs in cultural determinism.
I found the book “Coming of Age in Samoa,” in the library. The book is very old, and the pages have turned a yellowish-orange color. This book got into what life and culture are like in Samoa. Just by looking at the table of contents it shows how Mead got in depth with her work.
Learning about these two great anthropologists was very interesting. I enjoyed getting to look into there works and getting to see what they wrote about and studied. Learning about there backgrounds sheds a light on their culture and the culture that they explored.