Deborah G. Plant is an African American literature and Africana Studies scholar and literary critic whose special interest is the life and works of Zora Neale Hurston.
She is editor of Barracoon, the 2018 New York Times bestseller, by Zora Neale Hurston. Other books include Every Tub Must Sit On Its Own Bottom: The Philosophy and Politics of Zora Neale Hurston (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1995), a reevaluation of Hurston’s philosophical bases for individualism and self-reliance rooted in Booker T. Washington, Spinoza, Nietzsche, her mother’s practicality, and her father’s Baptist tenets; The Inside Light: New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston, editor (Westport: Praeger, 2010), 20 essays on recent findings and issues in Hurston studies; and Zora Neale Hurston: A Biography of the Spirit (Westport: Praeger, 2007), an exploration of Hurston’s spirituality as reflected in her writings, folkloric research and publications, life experiences, societal concerns and struggles, her political activity, and even the nature of her final years and death; and Alice Walker: A Woman for Our Times (Westport: Praeger-ABC CLIO, 2017), is an exploration of the philosophical thought that informs Alice Walker’s life, work, and activism.
Plant has been the keynote speaker for National Endowment for the Arts Big Read programs on Their Eyes Were Watching God in Brunswick, Georgia; Decatur, Georgia; and Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia. She has served as a consultant, resource, and speaker at Fort Pierce’s ZoraFest over several years.
She was instrumental in founding the USF Department of Africana Studies and in the development of its graduate program. She chaired the department for five years, and was Associate Professor of Africana Studies there until her appointment as Associate Professor of English, 2014 - 2015.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Southern University (Baton Rouge), a Master’s degree in French from Atlanta University, and MA and Ph.D. degrees in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Plant currently resides in Tampa, Florida, and continues her research and writing as an Indpendent Scholar.