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Lorraine Hansberry
(May 19, 1930 - January 12, 1965) U.S.A.

Lorraine Hansberry

Playwright, journalist and essayist


Born in a middl-class family in Chicago, Illinois, she studied at Roosvelt College, University of Wisconsin, and at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. In 1950 she went to New York and attended the New School. She then joined the staff of Freedom, a radical African American journal.

In 1953 she married Robert Nemiroff but her continued political engagement with radical race and gender politics led her to feminism, so in 1957 they quietly separated and she began to come out as a lesbian. In August 1957 she wrote two letters to the new lesbian journal The Ladder, supporting the emerging US lesbian liberation movement and connecting homophobia and anti-feminism.

Author of A Raisin in the Sun she was the first African American woman to have a play produced on Broadway. She is also known for putting Mike Wallace in his place. When he asked if she had won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award because she was a black woman, she calmly replied no. Then said if she had, it would be the first time in America that anyone had been given an award for being a black woman.

She died from cancer.


Source: excerpts from: Gabriele Griffin, Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay and Writing, Routledge, London, 2002 - et alii

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