As part of the Federal Writers Project (WPA) program in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Hurston collected and performed various folk songs reflecting black folklore in Florida and other parts of the South.

The recordings that are part of the American Memory Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections archive in the Library of Congress contain Hurston's descriptions of railroad track lining and "Georgia Skin," a popular gambling game among rural workers, as well as a story fragment from the Bahamas and various work and social songs. The music, in particular, recalls not only life on the railroads and in the lumber and turpentine camps of old Florida but also early blues rhythms and West African heritage and culture as it existed in the tunes and verses of music from South Carolina and Georgia. Moreover, audio recordings in the collection contain Hurston's explanation of how she collected and learned songs and a commentary from Mrs. Rolla Southworth, state director of the WPA at the time, on the historical and cultural importance of preserving "Negro folklore" in Florida. (Note: for the Southworth remarks, see "Opinion of recording program of folksongs in Florida" in the collection).

Below, with brief annotations, are some 19 titles that Hurston's ethnographic work has contributed to the Florida Folklife WPA Collections:

  1. "Crow Dance" (song)
  2. "Dat Old Black Gal" (song)
  3. Description of Lining Track (oral commentary)
  4. "Evalina" (song)
  5. Georgia Skin (oral commentary)
  6. "Gonna See My Long-Haired Babe" (song)
  7. "Halimuhfack" (song)
  8. "Let the Deal Go Down" (song)
  9. "Lets Shake It" (song)
  10. "Mama Don't Want No Peas, No Rice" (song)
  11. "Mule on the Mount" (song)
  12. "Oh Mr. Brown" (song)
  13. "Oh, the Buford Boat Done Come" (song)
  14. "Po' Gal" (song)
  15. Proposed Recording Expedition into the Floridas (written proposal)
  16. "Shove It Over" (song)
  17. "Tilly, Lend Me Your Pigeon" (song)
  18. "Uncle Bud" (song)
  19. "Wake Up, Jacob" (song)