January 12th in African American History – Lorraine Hansberry

lorraine hansberryJanuary 12, 1965 Lorraine Hansberry, African-American playwright and author, died.

Hansberry was born May 19, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. She moved to New York City in 1950 to pursue a career as a writer. In 1959, her play, “A Raisin in the Sun” debuted on Broadway. It was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway.

The play received the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Play of the Year, making Hansberry the youngest playwright and the fifth woman to receive that award. Her only other play to be produced on Broadway was “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” (1965).

After her death, her ex-husband completed several of her unfinished manuscripts, including “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” (1969) and “Les Blancs” (1994). The Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco, California in named in her honor. Her biography, “They Found a Way: Lorraine Hansberry,” was published in 1978.


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