As an anthropologist, folklore researcher, and writer she introduced the world to much of the folklore and beliefs of African America, including the Caribbean. It is she whom you can thank for Vodou and Zombies entering the public lexicon (though her early sympathetic reportage was doomed to be sensationalized into trashy cryto-racist schlock). She was a mainstay of the Harlem Renaissance and has influenced generations of writers.
"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."
- Letter from Zora Neale Hurston to Countee Cullen
Please join me in a big Diesel toast to Ms. Hurston and to Google for honoring her!