San Leandro’s Big Read, “Their Eyes Were Watching God”


The San Leandro Public Library has selected Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” as the book for the community to read, as part of the city’s Big Read program that runs through March.
An American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston is considered one of the pre-eminent writers of Twentieth-Century African-American literature.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The goal of the Big Read, which is the largest reading program in the U.S, is to bring together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.
“Our library’s 2013 Big Read program offers a wonderful opportunity for San Leandrans to learn more about the broad range of the Black experience in the United States and the considerable contributions of African Americans to our culture and history,” said Mayor Stephen Cassidy.
Lucy Anne Hurston, niece of Zora Neale Hurston, will be the guest speaker at the Big Read Kickoff Event on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.  Ms. Hurston, an academic sociologist and author, will discuss Zora’s works and life as well as her own works and research experiences.
Other Big Read 2013 events include an “Ancestral Memories” quilt exhibit by the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland, a panel discussion on the role of strong female characters in African American Literature with the Black Caucus and local author Mary Monroe, screenings of “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” and a field trip to the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.