By: Kési Felton, Campus News Reporter (@kesifelton)
Members of the Washington, D.C., community gathered at Sankofa Video, Books and Café on Tuesday, Jan. 23 to commemorate the life and legacy of Zora Neale Hurston on her birthday. The event was hosted and sponsored by the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to support Black writers.
“The turnout is an endorsement of the enduring relevance of Zora Neale Hurston and her work,” said Marita Golden, President Emeritus of the Hurston/ Wright Foundation. “It was so good to have a discussion about The Hilltop. When I was in college it was a cultural force of activism.”
Golden’s sentiments reflected another recurring theme throughout the program– the 94-year anniversary of The Hilltop, which saw its first publication Jan. 22, 1924.
The program featured various readings of Hurston’s work by five Howard University alumni and former staff members of The Hilltop— Zerline Hughes Spruill, Brandi Forte, Maya Rhodan, Ayesha Rascoe and Bobby White. Hughes Spruill, former Hilltop reporter and Entertainment editor, read an excerpt of Hurston’s Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave. The previously unreleased book details Hurston’s interviews with the last known survivor of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and is set to release May 8, 2018. The book will be available for purchase at Sankofa and is currently available for pre-order on their website.