The contributions of Zora Neale Hurston—acclaimed author, anthropologist, and Harlem Renaissance icon—to American culture are immeasurable. But apparently she’s not quite done, because Harper Collins has announced the release of an unpublished work by Hurston, due out in May.
Though she is best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston’s work covers a number of genres. The upcoming book, called Barracoon, is an anthropological work about the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade. Via Harper Collins:
Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.
According to Harper Collins, Hurston spent more than three months in Plateau, AL, interviewing Cudjo about his life. Barracoon (named for the ship used to temporarily confine captured Africans before they were transported to America) revolves around Cudjo’s experiences aboard the Clotilde, the last known American slave ship, and his life as a slave, shedding light on the horrific realities of slavery in America through his eyes.
In a time of white supremacist presidents and neo-Nazi trolls wreaking havoc on the internet, it’s clear we need this book now more than ever.