May 19th marks the day that Lorraine Hansberry was born in Chicago, Illinois. Many are not aware of the fact that her play, “A Raisin in the Sun” was the first play performed on Broadway that was written by an African American woman. “A Raisin in the Sun” was influenced by Lorraine’s upbringing in Chicago, where her family dealt with racial discrimination due to the fact that they moved into a prominent all white residential area. Their struggles led to the historic Supreme Court case Hansberry v. Lee that overturned a Chicago law that attempted to prevent African Americans from purchasing homes in this residential district.
Though Lorraine’s life was cut way too short, due to her succumbing to cancer at the age of 34, she was able to work with many icons of her age and leave an impressive legacy.
Below you will find some select facts about Lorraine Hansberry, links to other sites where you can learn more about her life and legacy, videos of her landmark play “A Raisin in the Sun”, and posters, books and music written or influenced by Lorraine Hansberry.
Select Facts about Lorraine Hansberry
1. She worked on the staff of the Black newspaper, Freedom, under the direction of Paul Robeson and also worked in the same office as W.E.B. DuBois.
2. At the age of 29, she won an award for Best Play from the New York Drama Critics Circle for “A Raisin in the Sun”. This made her the youngest playwright to ever win the award.
3. She wrote essays and articles for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) book, The Movement.
4. Her family’s home in Chicago, now known as the Lorraine Hansberry Home, is a National Historic Landmark.
5. Nina Simone, who was a close friend of Lorraine Hansberry, got the name of her song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” from an unfinished Lorraine Hansberry play.
6. Lincoln University’s first female dormitory is named Lorraine Hansberry Hall, there is a Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco, CA, and there is a Lorraine Hansberry Academy and Elementary School in New York.
7. The Hansberry Institute for African Studies at the University of Nigeria is named after Lorraine Hansberry’s uncle, William Hansberry, a prominent Africanist Professor.
Title: Lorraine Hansberry
Artist: Julian Madyun
Size: 11×17 inches
Retail Price: $10.00
Our Price: $7.50
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