Zora Neale Hurston’s Lesson

January 7, 2014

By Anne Haddad

UMMC Publications Editor

Yesterday was the 123rd anniversary of the birth of Zora Neale Hurston, a prolific African-American writer, folklorist and anthropologist. Thank you, Google, for reminding us by making her the Google Doodle, which in turn reminded me of an essay by Hurston that’s as powerful as it is brief — “My Most Humiliating Jim Crow Experience.” The Literature & Medicine reading group at UMMC discussed it this spring.

We asked ourselves was why this was the most humiliating, when there must have been many humiliations during that era. One reason: People are never more vulnerable than when they trust a health care provider with their lives. Reading about such an extreme breach of trust was agonizing for the caregivers in the group, all of whom were passionate advocates for their patients.

Literature & Medicine is a program sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council, and coordinated at UMMC by the Rev. Susan Carole Roy, DMin, BCC, director of pastoral care services. The guest facilitator this year was Howard Berkowitz, an English teacher at The Park School.

 

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