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Lorraine Hansberry

From Academic Kids

Lorraine Hansberry (May 19, 1930January 12, 1965) was an American playwright and painter. Her drama A Raisin in the Sun (first performed in 1959) was the first drama written by a black woman to show on Broadway. In 2004, A Raisin in the Sun received a Broadway revival earning Tony Awards for Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald. Hansberry grew up on the South Side of Chicago, in the neighborhood of Woodlawn.

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Biography

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Lorraine Hansberry was born in Chicago in 1930, the youngest child of Carl and Nannie Perry Hansberry. Her parents were politically active Republicans who bequeathed their Afrocentric ideology to their daughter. Her father was a broker.

Hansberry grew up in a white, middle-class neighborhood and attended public school. Her family frequently faced the threats of racist mobs.

Hansberry attended the University of Wisconsin and worked on the staff of Freedom magazine. She married Robert Nemiroff, a Jewish-Lit student, in 1953. They separated in 1957.

Her 1957 play A Raisin in the Sun made her the first black woman to win the New York Drama Critics' Circle's Best Play award. The play has become a classic.

Hansberry died of cancer on January 12, 1965 at the age of thirty-four. She left behind an unfinished autobiography and three (also unfinished) plays.

Legacy

After her success with A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry became the foremother of African-American drama and many who followed felt a great debt to her vision. She also contributed to the understanding of abortion, discrimination, and Africa. In San Francisco, The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, which specializes in original stagings and revivals of African-American theatre, is named in honor of her great contributions.

Her Works

Bibliography

James, Rosetta. Cliff Notes on Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Lincoln, Nebraska: Cliff Notes Inc, 1992
Lorraine Hansberry (1930 - 1965)” http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/corhans.htm 2003

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