Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Verner Mitchell

Committee Member

Lorinda Cohoon

Committee Member

Ladrica Menson

Committee Member

R. Eric Platt


The state of African American romantic love and marriage has garnered increased scrutiny over the last 20 years, sparking great attention among scholarly studies, pop culture, and mainstream media to combat marriage decline. African American literature offers a complex view of marriage and romantic love via the works of Zora Neale Hurston as early as the 1930s that predates other studies. Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God and Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick are the catalysts for understanding black romantic love, questions of marriage, and concerns about black male and female relationships then and now. A close read of Hurstons works and studies of African American romantic love and marriage, via statistics and mainstream media, reveals the complexities of how black love is studied under the umbrella of marriage. This work argues that Hurstons point of view impacts current studies and sheds light on representations of black love. Keywords: Zora Neale Hurston, black love, African American marriage, marriage decline, romantic love.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest