Cushenberry Receives Zora Neale Hurston Prize

AFS News, Prizes
African American female smiling in a denim jacket
Photo credit: Michaela Duerson for The Orange Portrait.

Jessica Cushenberry (Independent Folklorist) received the Zora Neale Hurston Prize for her thesis from Utah State University: “Home to Harlan: African American Miners’ Children Celebration of Homecoming.”

The prize is given to a graduate or undergraduate student for the best work in any medium—including but not limited to papers, films, sound recordings, or exhibitions—on African American folklore. 

Cushenberry’s work focuses on African Americans’ experiences by looking at Black coal mining families in Harlan County, Kentucky’s Appalachian mountain and mining region. “Home to Harlan” is a bricolage of various folkloric texts and anecdotes collected from community members that expresses how the African-American community of Lynch, Kentucky, is remembered in the past and celebrated in the present.

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