(b. May 19, 1930, Chicago, Ill., U.S.–d. Jan. 12, 1965, New York, N.Y.), American playwright whose Raisin in the Sun (1959) was the first drama by a black woman to be produced on Broadway.
Hansberry’s father, a prosperous real-estate broker, fought a lengthy legal battle in the late 1930s against restrictive covenants that kept Chicago’s black inhabitants in ghettos. As part of this struggle the Hansberry family moved into a white neighbourhood, where Lorraine met daily hostility in her walks to and from school. Although her father took the case to the Supreme Court and won, he became disillusioned with the prospects for black equality in the United States and moved to Mexico.
Hansberry attended the University of Wisconsin for two years and then studied painting in Chicago and Mexico, before she decided she had no talent for it. Moving to New York in 1950, she held a number of jobs, meanwhile perfecting her skill as a writer.Â Continue reading
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was born on September 24, 1825 to free parents. A few years later, she was orphaned. Harper received her education at a school for free African-Americans run by her uncle, William Watkins. The school was located at the present day site of the Baltimore Convention Center.
At the age of 13, Harper’s formal education came to an end when she took a job as a nursemaid.
Harper’s first publication was a collection of poetry and prose entitled Autumn Leaves. It was published while she was a teenager. Harper moved to Philadelphia. She published another volume of poems entitled Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects (1857). This work sold over 10,000 copies within its first five years of publication. In 1860, Harper married the love of her life, Fenton Harper.Â Continue reading
More than a century following her death, after being ignored, oppressed, and–literally–erased from history, Anna Ella Carroll is finally getting the last word. Carroll was an intriguing and atypical 19th century woman who emerged from the male-dominated realm of war, politics, and diplomacy.
As a key military strategist, Presidential advisor, and “unofficial” member of Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet, Carroll was probably the most powerful woman in American during the Civil War. Biographers note that she could “scheme, connive, and maneuver as well as any man.”Â Continue reading