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The Truth About Zora Neale Hurston

Damon W. Root at Reason pretty convincingly argues that African-American involvement in the mainstream conservative movement has somewhat deeper roots than I said here. He cites this Saturday Evening Post article from author Zora Neale Hurston, who was apparently a Robert Taft supporter in ’52 and New Deal hater:

Throughout the New Deal era the relief program was the biggest weapon ever placed in the hands of those who sought power and votes. If the average American had been asked flatly to abandon his rights as a citizen and to submit to a personal rule, he would have chewed tobacco and spit white lime. But under relief, dependent upon the Government for their daily bread, men gradually relaxed their watchfulness and submitted to the will of the “Little White Father,” more or less. Once they had weakened that far, it was easy to go on an on voting for more relief, and leaving Government affairs in the hands of a few. The change from a republic to a dictatorship was imperceptibly pushed ahead.

Seeing as how Hurston is a mainstay of high school curricula, it seems like there should be more awareness of these facts about her perspective. Obviously she was unrepresentative of black opinion during that period, but it’s interesting history.

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