Lorraine Hansberry's life as celebrated playwright and activist artist earned her the tile of "Warrior Intellectual." When she died at age 34, her testimonial was demonstrated by the number of eulogies given by prominent figures in government, the arts, and the civil rights movement.
Born into an affluent family in Chicago, Hansberry grew up among such family friends as Paul Robeson, Duke Ellington, and Jesse Owens. Her interest in theater was sparked during her years at the University of Wisconsin, but in 1950 she left college for New York and "an education of a different sort." She worked as a writer for Freedom, Paul Robeson's radical black newspaper, and covered such issues as colonial freedom, equal rights for blacks, the conditions of Harlem schools, and variants of racial discrimination. She married Robert Nemiroff, a white student whom she met on a picket line at New York University, where he was a student.
Lorraine Hansberry left Freedom in 1953 to concentrate on her play writing. earning her position in American letters with the production of A Raisin in the Sun in 1959, becoming the first black woman to have a play on Broadway and the first African American to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Her success revitalized black theater, enabling other blacks to get their plays produced. Politically active throughout her short life, Hansberry worked to abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee, served on a panel to meet with Attorney General Robert Kennedy about the racial crisis, and was