Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston

The Iota Psi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, invites the St. Thomas community to an informal reception celebrating the dedication of a new stained-glass window medallion in honor of Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), author of Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).

The reception will be held from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, in the O’Shaughnessy Room of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center. Hurston was a ground-breaking essayist and fiction writer closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance, and her work was instrumental in breaking down barriers of race and gender during a turbulent period of American history. This will be the first window medallion in the library to honor a female author and the first to recognize a writer of color.

The artist’s conceptual drawing of the Zora Neale Hurston window medallion, the library's first to honor a female author and the first to recognize a writer of color.

The artist’s conceptual drawing of the Zora Neale Hurston window medallion, the library's first to honor a female author and the first to recognize a writer of color.

The window was designed by the Conrad Pickel firm – the same company that created the other stained-glass window medallions in the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center, including the Great Characters from Literature series and the Great Authors series (see digital image collection). Generous donations made by St. Thomas students, faculty and staff covered the $1,000 cost.

“Jump at the Sun: The Life and Times of Zora Neale Hurston”

Following the Hurston window medallion reception, a 55-minute performance of Buffy Sedlachek’s “Jump at the Sun: The Life and Times of Zora Neale Hurston” will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the O’Shaughnessy Room.

Featuring Twin Cities actress and singer Regina Williams as Zora, this Jungle Theater production ties themes from the author’s most celebrated works, including Their Eyes Were Watching God, to events in her own life. Stories of Hurston’s idyllic hometown of Eatonville, tall tales she collected during her travels in the rural South, and her struggle to maintain her unique voice as a writer despite criticism from the male literati of the Harlem Renaissance all emerge over the course of this performance. The show also includes original music by local composer Roberta Carlson. A short question-and-answer period will follow.

For more information, call the English Department, (651) 962-5600.