In her essay "What White Publishers Won't Print," Zora Neale Hurston hoped to shed light on the difficulties faced by black authors in getting their work published by mainstream publishers. She writes, "I do not know of any Negro who has any desire to be anything but a Negro. But I do know that there are millions of people in the world who have a desire to rob others of their birthright." Hurston goes on to explain that the white publishing industry often pigeonholes black authors into writing about the "Negro problem" and rejects works that do not fit this mold.
Hurston hoped that her essay would encourage black authors to seek out alternative avenues for publication, such as black-owned presses, and would inspire white publishers to broaden their horizons and publish a wider range of black voices. She writes, "The Negro is a full human being and is entitled to everything that full human freedom and human opportunity provide. Anything less than this is a form of slavery."
Overall, Hurston's essay aimed to challenge the systemic racism and discrimination that prevented black authors from sharing their stories and perspectives with the world. By speaking out against the status quo, she paved the way for a new generation of black writers and publishers to emerge and create a more inclusive literary landscape.
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