Lorraine Hansberry


Lorraine Hansberry

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 12 Jan 1965 (aged 34)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Croton-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 443 View Source
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Playwright. Born the youngest of four children in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of school teacher Nannie Perry and real estate broker Carl Hansberry. She attended the University of Wisconsin for two years before dropping out to move to New York in order to pursue a writing career. She landed a job with Paul Robeson's progressive newspaper, 'Freedom,' as a writer, eventually advancing to associate editor. In 1953, she married Robert Nemiroff, a graduate student at New York University, whom she met on a picket line. She completed her play, 'The Crystal Stair' later renamed 'A Raisin in the Sun,' and Nemiroff's connections were instrumental in getting the play produced. It debuted on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in March 1959, the first play authored by a black playwright and featuring an all black cast ever to do so. At the age of 29, she became not only the youngest, but the first black recipient of the New York Critics' Circle Award for her work. In 1961, a screen adaptation of the play won the Gary Cooper Award at the Cannes Film Festival. She and Nemiroff divorced in 1962, but remained professional collaborators. Her second Broadway play was staged in 1964, 'The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window,' opened to an indifferent reception, and closed within four months. That same year, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She continued to write, however, completing a teleplay which, though never produced, was eventually published in 1972 as 'The Drinking Gourd.' She succumbed to cancer at the age of 34. After her death, Nemiroff adapted a collection of her writings and interviews into the production, 'To Be Young, Gifted and Black,' which opened off-Broadway and ran for eight months, one of the most successful off-Broadway productions of the 1968/69 season. Her biography of the same title, was published in 1970.

Bio by: Iola


I care. I care about it all. It takes too much energy not to care...the why of why we are here is an intrigue for adolescents; the how is what must command the living. Which is why I have lately become an insurgent again.

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 443
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lorraine Hansberry (19 May 1930–12 Jan 1965), Find a Grave Memorial ID 443, citing Bethel Cemetery, Croton-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .