Today would have been literary giant Zora Neale Hurston’s 123rd birthday. In her honor, Google’s homepage features the face of the beloved author and anthropologist.

Hurston was born on January 7, 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama but spent most of her youth in Eatonville, Florida, one of the first incorporated all-black towns in the United States. The town would later become the inspiration for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, which has been hailed as one of the top novels of the last century. In her 30-year career, Hurston wrote four novels, two books of folklore based on her anthropological work on the oral traditions of African-Americans, an autobiography. She also wrote plays and was a prolific essay writer. 

Those who knew Hurston described her as a renaissance woman with a “rambunctious spirit.”

“When Zora was there, she was the party,” recalled writer Sterling Brown.

Residents of Eatonville continue to honor Hurston with the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of Arts and Humanities. The town is also home of the Zora Neale Hurston Museum.

Happy birthday Zora!