Lorraine Hansberry

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    Lorraine Hansberry

    Lorraine Hansberry, 28-year-old playwright who won the Drama Critics' Award for her first play "A Raisin in the Sun," poses in New York City on April 7, 1959. (AP Photo/NY Herald Tribune)

    Lorraine Hansberry is the playwright who wrote the celebrated “A Raisin in The Sun”, the first play by an African American woman to be performed on Broadway.

    The play follows the lives of a working-class family in 1950’s Chicago.

    At a young age, Hansberry was interested in the theatre and after college in Wisconsin, she moved to New York City, where she refined her writing skills in various literary jobs.

    A Raisin in the Sun opened in 1959 with great success at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre. It won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best play, making Hansberry – at age 29 – the youngest American playwright and only the fifth woman to receive the honor. The film version received a special award at the Cannes festival.

    As an activist, Hansberry was a vocal supporter of the black Civil Rights movement. Her promising career was cut short by her death at age 34 from pancreatic cancer.

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