Essays on the Theme of Heroism

Zora Neale Hurston and Yoani Sanchez

by William from Sheridan Tech

Zora Noeale Hurtson was an American novelist. She was born on January 7, 1891, in Nostasulga, Alabama, and she died in January 28, 1960. She has made a significant impact in the field of education as she was one of the first black women to be a novelist in the 20th century. Not only was she one of the first American black women to be a novelist, she was very skillful and had remarkable talent. She has won many awards, achievements, honors, and overall has left a terrific legacy. In 1956, Zora Neale Hurtson received the Bethune-Cookman College Award for Education and Human Relations in recognition of her works and achievements. Over her long career that lasted about 3 decades (little more than 30 years), she has produced four novels, two books of folklore, an autobiography, numerous short stories, and several essays, articles and plays. Her best work is known to many as her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Image from Robert Shetterly, Americans Who Tell the Truth

Focusing on her importance, as stated before she is considered one of the most influential, notable, and respected person at the time because she did what she loved so remarkably and had a fantastic career- despite her status. Keep in mind she lived from 1891-1960 a time where a bunch of equality movements happened. For starters, slavery ended quite recently, about the year of 1863, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had passed, and women were given voting rights in the year of 1920. As one can easily imagine, Zora Noeale Hurtson grew up with many challenges and obstacles. She grew up in a time where race equality was an issue, and during that time women, especially black/African-American women, were at the lower part of the ladder for social hierarchy. Going back to earlier, despite her status as explained, she had a successful career. Not only did she had a successful career, but her career had a major impact on the field of education as some of her stories reflected her life, which gave knowledge to the public, and of course her work inspired many others to become novelists and writers as well. In addition to all her contribution, she also was associated and celebrated the Harlem Renaissance, a blossoming of African American culture, particularly in the creative arts, and the most influential movement in African American literary history. "Black authors and critics felt the time had come for black writers to reveal the trust of black Southern experience as no white authors could, and no one was more successful in doing this than Zora Neale Hurtson" (Harlem Renaissance,

Yoani Sanchez is a modern type of writer- she's a blogger. Born in September 4, 1975, she grew up with in a communist world from the Cuban government. She grew up with lots of obstacles and challenges from a notable young age. "I left high school in the countryside feeling that nothing belonged to me, not even my body. Living in shelters creates the sensation that your whole life, your privacy, your personal possessions and even your nakedness has become public property. "Sharing" is the obligatory word and it comes to seem normal not to be able-ever-to be alone. After years of mobilizations, agricultural camps, and a sad school in Alquizar, I needed an overdose of privacy."

Yoani Sanchez and the Cuban government have a beef and feud with each other. Yoani Sanchez as stated before is a blogger, and she posts articles on her website called Generation Y. She posts a lot of stuff, but the most notable and the worthiest stuff she posts is simply just the life of Cuban citizens. It is important to understand, however, Cuba greatly limits freedom of expression and the press. Naturally, the Cuban government condemns Yoani Sanchez's actions, which makes Yoani Sanchez really stand out from most bloggers in today's world. She is very brave and courageous to go against the dangerous Cuban tyrant-like government. She has many courageous stories under her name. For example, in 2002, she left Cuba and went to Switzerland. Two years later in 2004, she wanted to go back to Cuba, however, since she had had been out of the country for more than eleven months without special permission, she lost her right to return. Remarkably, she returned to Cuba anyways only for a two-week family visit on a round-trip ticket, however, when it was time to go back to Switzerland, she ripped and destroyed her passport to avoid being forced on a plane back to Switzerland, ultimately avoiding deportation. She then was granted a waiver allowing her to recover her permanent resident status in Cuba. Truly courageous with a little luck getting the waiver from the Cuban government. Focusing on her importance, Yoani Sanchez supplies tons of knowledge to the public, which contributes to the field of education.

Comparing these two, Yoani Sanchez is also a writer. However, Yoani Sanchez is actually a blogger rather than a pen-and-paper writer, like Zora Neale Hurtson. They are similar because they both write about the lives around them. Not only did Zora Neale Hurston made a major contribution to the field of education, but she also did it while creating history as she was also one of the very first African-American writers in the twentieth century. Yoani Sanchez also makes a contribution to the field of education, as more and more people are learning about the lifestyles of Cuban citizens. Understandably, here in United States a blogger who writes about life isn't really consider as someone who is inspirational. It's different though in Cuba, as there is no freedom of speech rights for Cuban citizens, and it is highly dangerous going against a very powerful and tyrant-like government. In similar conditions, it was also highly dangerous for Zora Neale Hurston to write when race-issues were at its highest in United States of America.

Yoani Sanchez's blog (English version):
"Violence Against Nonviolence":
The first website that can be investigated to explore more information of these two women is of course Yoani Sanchez's website itself translated in English: (click here to see the non-translated and the real website,
The second website is a link that I have created that provides information about Zora Neale Hurtson,
(Other links include and
(One of Sheridan Technical High School that provides databases websites, Britannica School)

Page created on 3/31/2016 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/2/2024 4:09:53 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Zora Neale Hurston - Official Website
Generation Y (in English) - by blogger, Yoani Sanchez