medicine bottles from when the building was a welfare home.
“We plan on using those items collected by Mrs. Cooper
and adding more to it,” Hobson said. “We have identified a
lot of issues with the building that need repairs first.”
Currently, the building needs a complete remodel: new air
conditioning, electrical wiring, plumbing and windows. The
foundation has been meeting with community members who
are willing to donate their time in an effort to repair the old
building. While certain people have been identified, there is
still a large need for help.
Hobson said the foundation has been in meetings with
the leadership group for a major not-for-profit organization
which has assisted in financing projects in the Lincoln
Park Community to let them know how this Hurston project
would fit in with their mission. The group has also applied
for a $150,000 grant through The African American Cultural
Heritage Action Fund.
The community center would play a significant role in the
community and help to revive Zora’s legacy. Hurston’s writing
is read around the world and has had a huge impact on
the city of Fort Pierce. The city has embraced her as she lived
the last decade of her life here.
In an effort to help with the project, the foundation is planning
a Zora Fest to raise funds and community awareness.
The date is not yet set, but it is coming soon.
“We do not know yet exactly how much money we will
need until the appropriate professionals assess the condition
of the building and our proposed use,” Hobson said.
The foundation hopes to have the building opened by the
end of the year and Hobson said it is already listed on the
Zora Neale Hurston Dust Tracks Heritage Trail.
The local Zeta Phi Beta chapter was given a grant by the national chapter
in order to provide upkeep on Hurston’s gravesite as well as to provide the
community with education on Hurston’s works.
“Even though she is no longer with us, her words still
speak volumes,” Hobson said. “Zora contributed so much to
our society through her anthropological research as well as
in her writing. It would be fitting to honor her through this
Community members interested in becoming involved
with this effort are encouraged to reach out to Marvin Hobson,
president, or Marjorie Harrell, historian.
“I just do what has to be done for our city,” Harrell said.
“That includes reminding our community members of Zora’s
greatness and teaching the young children about her as well.”