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Last on

Tue 18 May 2010 11:30 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 18 May 2010

On the eightieth anniversary of Lorraine Hansberry's birth, Adjoa Andoh reflects on the brief but highly influential career of the African American playwright and social activist.

In 1959, Hansberry became the first black woman to have a play produced on Broadway and the youngest recipient of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. An eloquent and impassioned orator for civil rights, Lorraine Hansberry quickly became one of the most famous women in the country.

Friend to the likes of Paul Robeson, James Baldwin and Nina Simone, who composed 'To Be Young, Gifted and Black' in her honour, Hansberry's prescient speeches and artfully constructed drama played a key role in the ongoing civil rights struggle.

In this programme we hear from her sister Mamie Hansberry, poet and playwright Jackie Kay, Chicago Southside historian Timuel Black and theatre directors Michael Buffong and Paulette Randall.

Producer: Eleanor McDowall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.


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