Ever since the time of Uncle Remus, Negro folklore has
exerted a strong attraction upon the imagination of the
American public. Negro tales, songs and sayings without
end, as well as descriptions of Negro magic and voodoo, have appeared but in all of them the intimate setting in the social
life of the Negro has been given very inadequately.
It is the great merit of Miss Hurston's work that she
entered into the homely life of the southern Negro as one of them and was fully
accepted as such by the companions of her childhood. Thus she has been able to
penetrate through than affected demeanor by which the Negro excludes the White
observer effectively from participating in his true inner life .Miss Hurston has
been equally successful in gaining the confidence of the voodoo doctors and she
gives us much that throws a new light upon the much discussed voodoo beliefs and
practices. Added to all this is the charm of a loveable personality and of a
revealing style which makes Miss Hurston's true work an unusual contribution to
our knowledge of the true inner life of the Negro.
To the student of cultural history the material presented is valuable
not only by giving the Negro's reaction to everyday events, to his emotional
life, his humor and passions, but it throws into relief also the peculiar
amalgamation of African and European tradition which is so important for
understanding historically the character of American Negro life, with its strong
African background in the West Indies, the importance of which diminishes with
increasing distance from the south.