Author Zora Neale Hurston’s novels and stories were very nearly forgotten after her death, but we can thank her fellow author Alice Walker for sparking a renewed interest in Hurston. We remember Hurston’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Author Zora Neale Hurston’s novels and stories were very nearly forgotten after her death, but we can thank her fellow author Alice Walker for sparking a renewed interest in Hurston. Since Walker revived Hurston’s legacy, her books, including “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and “Dust Tracks on a Road,” are now considered classics, noteworthy for their use of dialect and their preservation of black folklore. Today, her books are made into movies and read in schools. We remember Hurston’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1966: Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, U.S. publicist who was the wife of John F. Kennedy Jr., is born in White Plains, New York.
The song showed off his deep voice, made him a star, and earned him the Country Music Association’s male vocalist of the year award in 1967. Greene performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry beginning that year, according to his 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. His other hits, mostly in the late 1960s, included “All the Time,” “Are My Treasure,” “Until My Dreams Come True,” “What Locks the Door,” and “Statue of a Fool.” Read more
1930: Eddie Le Baron, NFL quarterback for the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, is born in San Rafael, California.
1928: William Peter Blatty, author and screenwriter known for writing the horror classic, “The Exorcist,” is born in New York, New York.
1922: Vincent Gardenia, Italian-American actor who received Oscar nominations for his performances in “Bang the Drum Slowly” and “Moonstruck,” is born in Naples, Italy.
1922: Alvin Dark, U.S. Major League Baseball player and manager who was named Rookie of the Year with the 1948 Boston Braves, is born in Comanche, Oklahoma.
Dark played in the celebrated “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke” era of New York baseball in the 1950s, when the Giants, Yankees, and Dodgers ruled, according to Dark’s November 2014 obituary by The Associated Press. Along with Mays, Mantle, and Duke Snider in center field, the city had three quality shortstops — Dark, plus future Hall of Famers Pee Wee Reese of the Dodgers and Phil Rizzuto of the Yankees. Dark hit .289 with 126 home runs in 14 seasons with the Braves, Giants, St. Louis, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia. Read more
1913: Johnny Mize, U.S. Major League Baseball shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants, and New York Yankees, who was a 10-time All-Star, is born in Demorest, Georgia.
1912: Charles Addams, U.S. cartoonist who created the macabre characters that inspired “The Addams Family,” is born in Westfield, New Jersey.
An artist since childhood, Addams began contributing cartoons to The New Yorker in 1932, and soon after that, he created America’s favorite creepy, kooky clan: the Addams Family. Originally a series of one-panel cartoons for the magazine featuring a family full of unnamed oddities, the Addams family went on to become a television and movie smash. The Addamses’ Hollywood fame began in 1964, when producers from ABC asked Addams to give his blessing for a TV series – and name his characters for the small screen. Read more
1911: Butterfly McQueen, U.S. actress known best for her role as Prissy, Scarlett O’Hara’s maid, in “Gone With the Wind,” is born in Tampa, Florida.
1903: Alan Napier, English actor known best for portraying Alfred the butler in TV’s 1960s “Batman” series, is born in King’s Norton, England.
1891: Zora Neale Hurston, U.S. author whose books include “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” is born in Notasulga, Alabama.
In addition to her scholarly life, Hurston lived a kind of second existence as a mainstay of the emerging Harlem Renaissance literary scene, known at the time as the New Negro Movement. She began writing short stories and became friendly with Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman, who formed the core of a bohemian group who called themselves, with deliberately provocative irony, the “niggerati” (a portmanteau coined by Hurston). In their writings for Fire! and other short-lived publications, the group addressed taboo subject matter such as prostitution, homoeroticism, and the envy of whites, in hopes of ruffling the feathers of what they perceived to be Harlem’s stuffy, black bourgeoisie. Read more
1873: Adolph Zukor, U.S. film mogul who founded Paramount Pictures, is born in Ricse, Hungary.
1844: Bernadette Soubiros, French nun and saint to whom Our Lady of Lourdes appeared, is born in Lourdes, France.
1800: Millard Fillmore, U.S. politician who was the 13th president of the United States, serving from 1850 to 1853, is born in Summerhill, New York.