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About this Episode

Valerie Boyd entered life’s stage as an old soul with Zen-like calm and pointed yet quiet grace. Her commitment to raise the voices of Black women pierced through the silence of history, demanding that the world listen closer to us all. She was a researcher, writer, documentarian and the definitive biographical voice on Zora Neale Hurston. In this week’s episode, we pay tribute to her life, her legacy, and her love.

In this Episode

A’Lelia Bundles

“Both Alice and Valerie are daughters of Georgia. I remember watching an interview that she did with Alice Walker at Emory, and just how comfortable the two of them seemed together. So that relationship was such a special relationship.”

Yanick Rice Lamb

“I consider Valerie Boyd a Zora for our generation. Though [she was] the definitive biographer of Zora Neale Hurston . . . she still believed there was room for someone else to do another biography.”

Veta Goler

“She helped us see ourselves as Black women, and did it with such beauty . . . [and] we really got to bathe in the beauty of [it].”

Charlayne Hunter Gault 


“In Wrapped in Rainbows, she wrote something about Zora that I think is so relevant to her own identity. She said black writers should have the same freedom as white writers.”

Rosalind Bently

“It wasn’t just the mechanics of it. She was concerned with the deeper truth you were trying to express, and if that truth had anything to do with black people and black women, Valerie was just fully engaged.”

Alice Walker

I’ve been thinking about Valerie all day and all week . . . part of the reason for that is that she is and continues to be someone who developed far beyond what people in my community expected us to.”

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