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Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965$
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Davis W. Houck and David E. Dixon

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781604731071

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604731071.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 25 May 2020

Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry

May 12, 1959, Women’s Scholarship Association Luncheon Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois

(p.88) Lorraine Hansberry
Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965

Davis W. Houck

David E. Dixon

University Press of Mississippi

Born on May 19, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois, Lorraine Hansberry studied art at Roosevelt University before moving to Harlem to write for Paul Robeson’s monthly magazine Freedom. In 1952, Hansberry was promoted to associate editor of Freedom and married writer Robert Nemiroff. She joined the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian rights organization in the United States. In 1957, she completed Raisin in the Sun, the first Broadway production written by an African American woman and directed by an African American. In 1962, Hansberry began her involvement in the burgeoning civil rights movement. On May 12, 1959, she spoke at the Women’s Scholarship Association Luncheon held at Roosevelt University in Chicago. This chapter presents Hansberry’s speech, delivered just weeks after the lynching of Mack Charles Parker in Poplarville, Mississippi. Hansberry first explained how drama reflects civilization before comparing her protagonist, Walter Lee Younger, in Raisin in the Sun to the angst-ridden characters created by Archibald McLeish, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller.

Keywords:   speech, Lorraine Hansberry, Roosevelt University, Raisin in the Sun, civil rights movement, Women’s Scholarship Association, Chicago, lynching, Mack Charles Parker, drama

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