Two women pioneers in historical research and writing, Zora Neale Hurston and Frances Cabaniss Roberts, will be inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame on March 7.
Hurston was an unsuccessful writer during her lifetime.She died in poverty and obscurity in 1960. She was buried in an unmarked grave and would have been forgotten had not Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple," helped popularize her work. Hurston's writings are now taught in English and African American Studies departments across the country. Hurston was born in1891 to a family of sharecroppers in Nostasulga, Ala. She was the fifth of eight children born to John Hurston, a former slave and Lucy Potts.
She wrote four novels, two books of folklore, an autobiography, numerous short stories, essays, articles and plays. Her best known writing is the novel, "Their Eyes were Watching God."
Frances Cabaniss Roberts was born in Gainesville, Ala. in 1916 and spent her life in historical research and historic preservation. She taught in the Sumter County Public School system before obtaining a four-year bachelor's degree at Livingston College. Then she broke gender barriers as a female graduate student at the University of Alabama where she earned a master's degree in history and later became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in history at the university. In addition to her historical research, Roberts authored and co-authored textbooks used in history and civics classes throughout Alabama.
The induction ceremony, open to the public, will be at 10:30 a.m. on March 7 in Alumnae Auditorium on the Judson campus.