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 play 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. Hansberry died of cancer at 34. A collection of her writings, To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,
was published in 1969.Biblio
See I. Perry, Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry (2018).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: American Literature: Biographies