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The persona first appeared in under the Futurist dictum that art has the power to change the world and was in part created as a critique of the racial apartheid still prevailing in the mainstream art world.


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Lorraine Hansberry was born on May 19,in Chicago, Illinois, to civil rights activist parents. In the mids, the Hansberry family moved to a predominantly white housing development where they were harassed relentlessly. One night, Lorraine and her sister, Mamie, were sitting in the living room when a concrete block was hurled at them through the window. In addition to physical intimidation, the family faced legal action by white homeowners who wanted the courts to force the Hansberrys to move. The battle went to the Supreme Court and ultimately the Hansberrys won.

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Lorraine, only ten years old at the time of the case, learned the power of standing up for her rights. Through her work with FreedomLorraine discovered her voice as a writer and gained exposure to a network of black creatives and intellectuals who were using art and the written word to advocate for racial justice and LGBTQ rights. During this period of her life, she wrote The Crystal Staira play about a black family in Chicago dealing with hardships similar to those that the Hansberry family endured during her childhood.

A Raisin in the Sun debuted on Broadway inmaking it the first play produced on Broadway by a black woman. Lorraine became a prominent and passionate activist during the early s.

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Though she never explicitly stated her sexual orientation during her life, many scholars and organizers revere her as a black queer feminist leader who worked alongside well-known black LGBTQ writers like James Baldwin in the movement for liberation. She is the founder and executive director of Equality for HER, a nonprofit educational platform for feminine-identifying individuals. Still looking for a great read?

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Local backlash against the Hansberry family eventually in a legal case.


In , playwright Lorraine Hansberry made history as the first black woman to have a show produced on Broadway.