Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (May 19, 1930 - January 12, 1965) was an American 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 in Chicago living under racial segregation. 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 U. Supreme Court case Hansberry v.
After she moved to New York City, Hansberry worked at the Pan-Africanist newspaper Freedom, where she worked with other black intellectuals such as Paul Robeson and W. 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 during the Broadway run of her play The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window in 1965. Hansberry inspired the Nina Simone song "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", whose title-line came from Hansberry's autobiographical play. Hansberry graduated from Betsy Ross Elementary in 1944 and from Englewood High School in 1948. This is her high school yearbook, where she has signed "Good Luck and Best Wishes" by her senior photograph. She is also pictured with the Debate Club in this yearbook.
Her signature is RARE and to have one before she became a famous playwright is a unique opportunity. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she immediately became politically active with the Communist Party USA and integrated a dormitory.
Hansberry's classmate Bob Teague remembered her as "the only girl I knew who could whip together a fresh picket sign with her own hands, at a moment's notice, for any cause or occasion". Please review the photos and ask questions.