Hurston wrote “What White Publishers Won’t Print” in 1950. Seventy years later, #PublishingPaidMe exposed what we now know as the disparity of publishers’ pay advances to Black writers compared to White writers. There is a historical notion that Black books won’t appeal to a broad audience that has long been discredited through the success of many Black books. Hurston’s use of African-American Vernacular (AAV), her portrayal of black women, and Black cultural traditions were used to center Black lives in her stories. Because the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020 are primarily of diverse people and topics, it is imperative to continue supporting and making opportunities equitable for Black writers.
Hurston’s book was the first novel published by an African-American woman, and her story of the search for love and self-identity is one that we can all relate to. As historical fiction with a specific setting, “The novel provides a rare glimpse into life as it was for some African Americans living in the Florida in the early 1900s, post-slavery.”