Remembering novelist Zora Neale Hurston

Posted at 8:46 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 20:48:05-05

Several days a week you'll see Hassie Russ in the kitchen.

She's the owner of "Granny's Kitchen" in Fort Pierce. She loves serving southern food. But she also loves talking about Zora Neale Hurston.

She first met the novelist when Hurston was working for a local newspaper. Russ said, "And she would come by our house on 17th Street a block from the newspaper that she sold door and she always talked to my mother."
Soon after, Russ' school needed an 11th grade English teacher. 

Hurston stepped in. "Back then people were sharp dressers making sure whatever they had on matched. She loved color, different flowers. She would have a blouse of one flower, a skirt of another flower."

Hurston stayed busy teaching and writing.  Russ stayed in touch with her. "Zora did a lot of writing and she told us a lot about her travels to Haiti and she lived in New York," Russ said.

Russ, who is now 77 years old, says decades after Hurston's death, there are Zora Scholars, events and buildings remembering the writer. It's a memory Russ hopes lives on. "She was very highly intelligent and I enjoyed the stories that she talked about."

Hurston wrote several stories in her life,  four novels, including the acclaimed  "Their Eyes Were Watching God". She died in 1960 and is buried in Fort Pierce.