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Lorraine Hansberry

Playwright and writer

Died when: 34 years 238 days (415 months)
Star Sign: Taurus

Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965) was a 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 living under racial segregation in Chicago.

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 US Supreme Court case Hansberry v.Lee.After she moved to New York City, Hansberry worked at the Pan-Africanist newspaper Freedom, where she dealt with other intellectuals such as Paul Robeson and W.

E.B.Du Bois.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.

Hansberry inspired the song by Nina Simone entitled "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", which was also the title of Hansberry's autobiographical play.


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