147 Best Zora Neale Hurston Quotes and Sayings

Zora Neale Hurston, born in 1891 to formerly enslaved parents, was an acclaimed writer and anthropologist whose works depicted African American life in the South and explored black folklore.

Moving to Florida in her youth, Hurston’s academic pursuits led her to Morgan College, Howard University and later, Barnard College where she earned a BA in Anthropology.

She was part of the black cultural renaissance in Harlem, alongside writers like Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen.

Zora Neale Hurston

Hurston tirelessly advocated for and studied black culture, traveling as far as Haiti and Jamaica to understand the African diaspora’s religions.

Her works, including the celebrated “Their Eyes were Watching God,” often blended her research and fiction.

Related: Paul Farmer Quotes from American Medical Anthropologist

Hurston also contributed to the arts through education, even founding a drama school.

Despite her contributions, she faced financial struggles and died in 1960.

Posthumously, Hurston is recognized as one of the 20th century’s foremost writers.

I have outlined the best quotes by Zora Neale Hurston.

Best Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

Such as I am, I am a precious gift. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

My head was full of misty fumes of doubt. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

She was a wind on the ocean. She moved men, but the helm determined the port. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.


Faith hasn’t got no eyes, but she’s long-legged. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

You saw a fluttering fan before her face and magnolia blooms and sleepy lakes under the moonlight when she walked. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Trees and plants always look like the people they live with, somehow. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Every morning the world flung itself over and exposed the town to the sun. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Nanny’s head and face looked like the standing roots of some old tree that had been torn away by storm. Foundation of ancient power that no longer mattered. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Folklore is the boiled-down juice, or pot-likker, of human living. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

It was not death she feared. It was misunderstanding. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. It is a seeking that he who wishes may know the cosmic secrets of the world and they that dwell therein. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Tea Cake, the son of the Evening Sun, had to die for loving her. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

They were there with their tongues cocked and loaded, the only real weapon left to weak folks. The only killing tool they are allowed to use in the presence of white folks. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Famous Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

If God don’t think no mo’ ’bout ’em then Ah do, they’s a lost ball in de high grass. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Pheoby’s hungry listening helped Janie to tell her story. So she went on thinking back to her young years and explaining them to her friend in soft, easy phrases while all around the house, the night time put on flesh and blackness. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Ah wanted to preach a great sermon about colored women sittin’ on high, but they wasn’t no pulpit for me. Freedom found me wid a baby daughter in mah arms, so Ah said Ah’d take a broom and a cook-pot and throw up a highway through de wilderness for her. She would expound what Ah felt. But somehow she got lost offa de highway and next thing Ah knowed here you was in de world. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

When I pitched headforemost into the world I landed in the crib of Negroism. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear, and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

If it was so honorable and glorious to be black, why was it the yellow-skinned people among us had so much prestige? ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Love is like the sea. It’s a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Ah can look through muddy water and see dry land. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Ultimate Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

He cut nine hairs out of the mole on her head for luck and went off happy. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

But any man who walks in the way of power and property is bound to meet hate. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.


I will fight for my country, but I will not lie for her. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

And I can’t die easy thinking maybe the menfolks white or black is making a spit cup out of you. Have some sympathy for me. Put me down easy, Janie, I’m a cracked plate. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

There are years that ask questions and years that answer. Janie had had no chance to know things, so she had to ask. Did marriage end the cosmic loneliness of the unmated? Did marriage compel love like the sun the day? ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Every tub sits on its bottom. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

There is nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

It’s no use of talking unless people understand what you say. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

And the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another, but the mud is deaf and dumb. Like all the other tumbling mud-balls, Janie had tried to show her shine. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Slogans can be worse than swords if they are only put in the right mouths. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Distance is the only cure for certain diseases. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.
She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

It seems like the first law of Nature is that everybody likes to receive things, but nobody likes to feel grateful. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I do not weep at the world. I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I want a busy life, a just mind, and a timely death. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Then he took off with ponderous flight and circled and lowered, circled and lowered until the others danced in joy and hunger at his approach. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Well, Ah see Mouth-Almighty is still sittin’ in de same place. And Ah reckon they got me up in they mouth now. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Ah betcha you wants some dressed up dude dat got to look at de sole of his shoe everytime he cross de street tuh see whether he got enough leather dere tuh make it across. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Top Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

Mystery is the essence of divinity. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I regret all of my books. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Lack of power and opportunity passes off too often for virtue. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Mouths don’t empty themselves unless ears are sympathetic and knowing. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Here Nanny had taken the biggest thing God ever made, the horizon – for no matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you – and pinched it in to such a little bit of a thing that she could tie it about her granddaughter’s neck tight enough to choke her. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Learning without wisdom is a load of books on a donkey’s back. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

It was the meanest moment of eternity. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

People can be slave-ships in shoes. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Seeing the woman as she was made them remember the envy they had stored up from other times. So they chewed up the back parts of their minds and swallowed with relish. They made burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Of course he wasn’t dead. He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking. The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

You got to go there to know there. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Justice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

The sun had become a light yellow yolk and was walking with red legs across the sky. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Great Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

She left the porch pelting her back with unasked questions. They hoped the answers were cruel and strange. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

An envious heart makes a treacherous ear. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I made up my mind to keep my feelings to myself since they did not seem to matter to anyone else but me. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

She had waited all her life for something, and it had killed her when it found her. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Everybody is two beings: one lives and flourishes in the daylight and stands guard. The other being walks and howls at night. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

She didn’t read books so she didn’t know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

There are years that ask questions and years that answer. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

It’s a funny thing, the less people have to live for, the less nerve they have to risk losing nothing. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Taint no law on earth dat kin make a man be decent if it aint in ’im. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Happiness is nothing but everyday living seen through a veil. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Magic is older than writing. So nobody knows how it started. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

De girl baby ain’t born and her mama is dead, dat can git me tuh spend our money on her. Ah told yo’ before dat you got de keys tuh de kingdom. You can depend on dat. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I am colored but I offer nothing in the way of extenuating circumstances except the fact that I am the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother’s side was not an Indian chief. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Bitterness is the coward’s revenge on the world for having been hurt. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Years ago, she had told her girl self to wait for her in the looking glass. It had been a long time since she had remembered. Perhaps she’d better go look. She went over to the dresser and looked hard at her skin and features. The young girl was gone, but a handsome woman had taken her place. She tore off the kerchief from her head and let down her plentiful hair. The weight, the length, the glory was there. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Tell me, and then again show me, so I can know. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

It seems that fighting is a game where everybody is the loser. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

But stillness was the sleep of swords. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Wise Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

The game of keeping what one has is never so exciting as the game of getting. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

To me, bitterness is the under-arm odor of wishful weakness. It is the graceless acknowledgment of defeat. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

She didn’t read books so she didn’t know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop. Man attempting to climb to painless heights from his dung hill. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Janie full of that oldest human longing – self-revelation. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Jump at the sun. You might not land on the sun, but at least you’ll get off the ground. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.


Gods always behave like the people who make them. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

She knew the world was a stallion rolling in the blue pasture of ether. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Someone is always at my elbow reminding me that I am the granddaughter of slaves. It fails to register depression with me. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk. It’s so many people never seen de light at all. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

It is a curious thing to be a woman in the Caribbean after you have been a woman in these United States. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I love myself when I am laughing. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Once you wake up thought in a man, you can never put it to sleep again. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Half Gods are worshiped with wine and Flowers. Real Gods require Blood. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I am her friend, and her tongue is in my mouth. I can speak her sentiments for her, though Ethel Waters can do very well indeed in speaking for herself. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

He’s got uh throne in de seat of his pants. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Don’t you realize that the sea is the home of water? All water is off on a journey unless it’s in the sea, and it’s homesick, and bound to make its way home someday. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Night came walking through Egypt swishing her black dress. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

If they wants to see and know, why they don’t come kiss and be kissed? Ah could then sit down and tell ’em things. Ah been a delegate to de big ’ssociation of life. Yessuh! De Grand Lodge, de big convention of livin’ is just where Ah been dis year and a half y’all ain’t seen me. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Oh to be a pear tree – any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Unique Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

God took pattern after a pine tree and built you noble. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Nothing that God ever made is the same thing to more than one person. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

You heard me. You ain’t blind. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Perhaps love is a compelling necessity imposed on man by God that has something to do with suffering. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I wish I could buy you for what you are really worth and sell you for what you think you’re worth. I sure would make money on the deal. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I have known the joy and pain of friendship. I have served and been served. I have made some good enemies for which I am not a bit sorry. I have loved unselfishly, and I have fondled hatred with the red-hot tongs of Hell. That’s living. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

If science ever gets to the bottom of Voodoo in Haiti and Africa, it will be found that some important medical secrets, still unknown to medical science, give it its power, rather than the gestures of ceremony. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat! ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

It was just a handle to wind up the tongue with. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I did not just fall in love. I made a parachute jump. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Time makes everything old so the kissing, young darkness became a monstropolous old thing while Janie talked. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Janie starched and ironed her face and came set in the funeral behind her veil. It was like a wall of stone and steel. The funeral was going on outside. All things concerning death and burial were said and done. Finish. End. Never-more. Darkness. Deep hole. Dissolution. Eternity. Weeping and wailing outside. Inside the expensive black folds were resurrection and life. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Anybody depending on somebody else’s gods is depending on a fox not to eat chickens. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

If you haven’t got it, you can’t show it. If you have got it, you can’t hide it. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

You’se something tuh make uh man forgit to git old and forgit tuh die. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Naw, Ah ain’t no young gal no mo’ but den Ah ain’t no old woman neither. Ah reckon Ah looks mah age too. But Ah’m uh woman every inch of me, and Ah know it. Dat’s uh whole lot more’n you kin say. You big-bellies round here and put out a lot of brag, but ’tain’t nothin’ to it but yo’ big voice. Humph! Talkin’ ’bout me lookin’ old! When you pull down yo’ britches, you look lak de change uh life. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

The room inside looked like the mouth of an alligator – gaped wide open to swallow something down. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

No matter how far a person can go, the horizon is still way beyond you. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at the sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

If you want that good feeling that comes from doing things for other folks then you have to pay for it in abuse and misunderstanding. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Her old thoughts were going to come in handy now, but new words would have to be made and said to fit them. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Meaningful Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

The sun, the hero of every day, the impersonal old man that beams as brightly on death as on birth, came up every morning. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

I belong to no race nor time. I am the eternal feminine with its string of beads. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Ethical and cultural desegregation. It is a contradiction in terms to scream race pride and equality while at the same time spurning Negro teachers and self-association. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Dis ain’t no business proposition, and no race after property and titles. Dis is uh love game. Ah done lived Grandma’s way, now Ah means tuh live mine. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.


Silence is all the genius a fool has. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

A man is up against a hard game when he must die to beat it. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Women forget all the things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Among the thousand white persons, I am a dark rock surged upon, and overswept. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

Love, I find, is like singing. Everybody can do enough to satisfy themselves, though it may not impress the neighbors as being very much. ~ Zora Neale Hurston.

So these were the 147 top Zora Neale Hurston quotes and sayings on love and writing.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Kim Kardashian quotes and Ben Carson quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar