“I have landed here in the kingdom of Marie Laveau and expect to wear her crown someday – Conjure Queen as you suggested.” So starts a letter from Zora to famous black poet and writer, Langston Hughes, in 1928. Zora spent months in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana researching the life and work of Laveau, who had been the most powerful voodoo priestess in the world in the 1800s and self-proclaimed “Pope of Voodoo.” Zora was in fact “crowned” by a grandnephew of Laveau’s after an initiation rite that required her to lie face down and naked, without food or water, for nearly three days. (Zora Neale Hurston, a Life in Letters, collected and edited by Carla Kaplan, 2002)
Today, the Library was the site of the Zora Neale Hurston U.S. Post Office Stamp Dedication (second release) and Zora Neale Hurston Community Celebration. The first release of this stamp occurred in Eatonville, Florida, where Zora spent her childhood.