Hansberry, Lorraine

Hansberry, Lorraine, 1930–65, American playwright, b. Chicago, studied Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, the New School, New York City. She grew up in a middle-class family on Chicago's South Side. In 1959 she became the first African-American woman to have a play produced on Broadway when A Raisin in the Sun opened to wide critical acclaim. The play deals with the serious and comic problems of a contemporary African-American family. The powerful drama had an enormous influence on the work of African-American dramatists who came after her, and continues to be widely read, produced, and taught. Hansberry's next play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window (1964), was less successful. Her Collected Last Plays: Les Blancs, the Drinking Gourd, What Use Are Flowers? was published in 1972, and a selection of her writings, To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, in 1969. She died of cancer at 34. Biblio

See I. Perry, Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry (2018).

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