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Home Daily Dose of History DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Lorraine Hansberry - Playwright

DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Lorraine Hansberry – Playwright

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create a shop and sell their amazing products to the world! If you have a product, you should definitely join this platform! We Buy Black also has it’s Inaugural We Buy Black Convention happening this November 16th-17th in Atlanta, GA and I hope to see you all there. In fact, I along with hundreds of others will be wearing our official We Buy Black T-shirt, so here’s my gift to you: Get 50% off the official WBB T-shirt using my code WBB2018. Peace, family!   Lorraine Hansberry, Black writer, Black playwright, Black History, Black History 365

Vivian

Lorraine Vivian Hansberry was born May 19, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the granddaughter of freed slaves and the youngest of four children. Her father was a real estate broker and her mother was a teacher who often donated to the NAACP. In 1938, the Hansberrys moved to a predominantly White neighborhood and were attacked. A court ordered them to leave their house in the Supreme Court Case Hansberry v. Lee.

Education

Hansberry attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She originally majored in painting but later switched her major to writing. She dropped out after two years and moved to New York City. There, she attended the New School for Social Research. She simultaneously worked for Paul Robeson’s newspaper, Freedom, as a writer and associate editor from 1950 to 1953.
While working for Robeson’s newspaper, Hansberry also worked as a waitress and cashier. In 1956, she quit her jobs and pursued writing full-time. By 1957, she joined the Daughters of Bilitis and wrote letters for their magazine, The Ladder. She wrote about feminism and homophobia, revealing her own homosexuality in the letters. She published under her initials, L.H., out of fear of discrimination.

Career

Hansberry wrote a stage play, titled The Crystal Stair. She later changed the title to A Raisin in the Sun, which is a line from Langston Hughes’ poem, A Dream Deferred. Her play opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on March 11, 1959. Her play was performed a total of 530 times.
A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by a Black woman to make it to Broadway. And at the age of 29, Hansberry was the youngest American-based playwright to win a New York Critics’ Circle Award. The film adaptation of her play, starring Sidney Poitier, was released in 1961 and won an award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Lorraine Hansberry, Black writer, Black playwright, Black History, Black History 365

Activism

Hansberry joined the Civil Rights Movement in 1963. Like many other writers, she began writing and speaking out about social injustices. In 1963, she wrote her second play The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. Her stageplay was released in 1964 and did not draw in a substantial audience. That same year, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Death

Lorraine Hansberry ultimately died from her cancer on January 12, 1965. She was 34 years old. Robert Nemiroff, a Jewish Songwriter and Hansberry’s former husband and writing partner, compiled her writings and interviews into a play. The play was titled To Be Young, Gifted and Black. It opened off-Broadway and ran for eight months.

Legacy

Hansberry was only here for a short period of time but made a great impact on Broadway. A Raisin in the Sun has evolved into a timeless piece that will remain in the American stageplay cannon for decades, if not centuries, to come. Hansberry continues to inspire writers and activists alike with her work.
Lorraine Hansberry, Black writer, Black playwright, Black History, Black History 365
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer (Nikodemus Mwandishi). Thank you.**
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