Lorraine Hansberry

Honored by:The Theatre Department
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INTERIM When I will have conquered all my days When I shall have become mistress of the miseries of ordinary When I will have pummeled trouble into nothing And fashioned the atoms of unqualified despair into a star of hope When I will have made the agony of hours a lovely thing And all the aching grief's of solitude a sweet and simple song Why then Death shall come and move with me to some other land For I shall be ready then.

Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) transformed the grim world around her into something touched with gold dust. Both of her plays--The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window and A Raisin in the Sun--deal in a kind of idealism in rising above adversity. But it is the latter play that is regarded now as a cornerstone of the development of black theatre--a powerful poignant protest against racial injustice and white bigotry that still works today despite its somewhat solid naturalism and contradictory values (working class aspiring to white middle-class values). A Raisin in the Sun draws the audience into its world and they emerge moved and even humbled by the experience. It is inspirational theatre showing how a black working-class family even in the face of racism and hostility and their own struggles against the "fast buck" ethos can retain dignity and pride. Lorraine Hansberry's compassionate and gently humorous family saga was far ahead of its time and still strikes a common chord with current issues of racism and sexism. Her husband (L Robert Nemiroff) completed two of her unfinished manuscripts--To be Young, Gifted and Black and Les Blancs. An unproduced screenplay--The Drinking Gourd--was given its world premiere stage production at the University of Northern Iowa in February, 1995. Tragically Hansberry died in 1965 of cancer at the age of thirty-four. "If anything should happen--before 'tis done--may I trust that all commas and periods will be place and someone will complete my thoughts-- This last should be the least difficult-- since there are so many who think as I do."


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