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Hansberry, Lorraine (1930–65) By Colbert, Soyica

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1270-1
Published: 01/10/2016
Retrieved: 19 June 2024, from


Born in Chicago in 1930, Lorraine Hansberry made history when her play A Raisin in the Sun premièred on Broadway in 1959 as the first work by an African-American woman to appear on the Great White Way. Realist in style, A Raisin in the Sun engaged with modern American drama’s investigation of the salience of the American Dream in the context of the Cold War, situating the deferred dreaming of the Younger family within a long history of foreclosed desire and possibility. Hansberry remains best-known for A Raisin in the Sun, but the play both exemplifies and overshadows her other accomplishments as a black lesbian artist-activist, only gesturing toward the expansive political vision of her work as a whole, including her exploration of slavery in The Drinking Gourd (1960), her treatment of apocalypse in What Use Are Flowers (1962), and her consideration of black freedom movements in Les Blancs (1964) and The Movement: A Documentary of a Struggle for Equality (1964).

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Colbert, Soyica. Hansberry, Lorraine (1930–65). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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