Lorraine Hansberry was born in Chicago on May 19, 1930. She enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Madison as a painting major then switched to writing. She eventually left and moved to New York City after two years and attended the New School for Social Research.
While in New York, she worked part-time jobs and wrote for Paul Robeson’s newspaper, Freedom. In 1956, she quit her jobs to focus on writing full-time.
Hansberry’s claim to fame was her play “A Raisin in the Sun,” which became the first by an African-American to be produced on Broadway. The film version starred Sidney Poitier and won an award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Hansberry was also an active participant in the civil rights movement. She died at the age of 34 on January 12, 1965, from pancreatic cancer.
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