Lorraine Hansberry cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Lorraine Hansberry

American playwright and writer

1930   -   1965

country of citizenship: United States of America
language of expression: English
educated at: University of Wisconsin–Madison, New School, Englewood Technical Prep Academy
occupation: non-fiction writer, theater director, screenwriter, playwright, human rights activist, activist, women's rights, civil and political rights
award received: Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame

Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965) was a playwright and writer. She was the first African-American female author to have a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun, highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago. The title of the play was taken from the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes: "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?" At the age of 29, she won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award — making her the first African-American dramatist, the fifth woman, and the youngest playwright to do so. Hansberry's family had struggled against segregation, challenging a restrictive covenant in the 1940 US Supreme Court case Hansberry v. Lee. After she moved to New York City, Hansberry worked at the Pan-Africanist newspaper Freedom, where she dealt with other intellectuals such as Paul Robeson and W. E. B. Du Bois. Much of her work during this time concerned the African struggles for liberation and their impact on the world. Hansberry's writings also discussed her lesbianism and the oppression of homosexuality. She died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 34. Hansberry inspired the song by Nina Simone entitled "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", which was also the title of Hansberry's autobiographical play.
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A Raisin in the Sun

play by Lorraine Hansberry

author: Lorraine Hansberry

Les Blancs

play written by Lorraine Hansberry

author: Lorraine Hansberry

The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window

play written by Lorraine Hansberry

author: Lorraine Hansberry

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