Lorraine Hansberry

African-American playwright and author (1930-1965)

Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965) was an African-American playwright, essayist, journalist and activist.[2] Hansberry was the first black female author to have a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, the play A Raisin In The Sun.

Lorraine Vivian Hansberry
BornLorraine Vivian Hansberry
(1930-05-19)May 19, 1930
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJanuary 12, 1965(1965-01-12) (aged 34)
New York City, U.S.
OccupationPlaywright, writer, stage director
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison
The New School
Robert Nemiroff
(m. 1953⁠–⁠1964)

Hansberry died in New York City of pancreatic cancer on January 12, 1965 at the age of 34. Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Baldwin spoke at her funeral on January 15 in New York.[3]

Hansberry was a playwriter of her time, becoming a cultural icon for many African Americans, and her legacy has been passed down through generations.

Hansberry faced many encounters with racism, and that shaped how she created her plays.


  1. Blau, Eleanor (July 19, 1991). "Robert Nemiroff, 61, Champion of Lorraine Hansberry's Works". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  2. Lipari, Lisbeth. "Queering the borders: Lorraine Hansberry’s 1957 Letters to The Ladder" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 Archived April 5, 2020, at the Wayback Machine. Online. 2008-06-28.
  3. Carter, "Commitment amid Complexity" (1980), p. 40.

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