Lorraine Hansberry was born on May 19, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. She wrote A Raisin in the Sun, a play about a struggling black family, which opened on Broadway to great success. Hansberry was the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle award. Throughout her life she was heavily involved in civil rights. She died at 34 of pancreatic cancer.
Inspired by her family’s court room mêlée against racially-segregated Chicago subdivision housing laws in her childhood, Lorraine Hansberry wrote a seminal piece of African-American history. Her magnum opus A Raisin in the Sun, bought the civil rights playwright and bestselling author a legion of fans and quickly turned her to a household name.
Sidney Poitier with his first wife, Juanita Hardy, and playwright Lorraine Hansberry at the opening of “A Raisin in the Sun” in New York City in 1959. Photo: Moneta Sleet for Ebony magazine via Art.com.
Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) pictured in 1959 shortly after her play "A Raisin in the Sun" premiered on Broadway. She was the first African-American woman playwright to have a play produced on Broadway. (Photo Credit: Corbis)
Lorraine Hansberry during “impromptu song-session” at a SNCC fundraiser at the home of actor and activist Theodore Bikel. (left to right) Avon M. Rollins, Lorraine Hansberry, Theo Bikel, Nina Simone, Marion Barry, Jr., John Lewis, unidentified man, unidentified woman, Ella Baker. July 6,1963. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating grew out of a student meeting organized by Ella Baker at Shaw University in 1960.
Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965) was an American playwright and writer. Hansberry inspired Nina Simone's song "To Be Young, Gifted and Black". She was the first black woman to write 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.
Lorraine Hansberry, Playwright: Wrote "Raisin in the Sun"