THIS MONTH IN HISTORY
March 11, 1959 – Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin In the Sun” opens at Barrymore Theater, New York, the first play by a Black woman to premier on Broadway.
Hansberry’ play, A Raisin in the Sun, brings light to the lives of African Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago. Hansberry’s family had struggled against segregation; they challenged a restrictive covenant that banned African Americans from buying or leasing property in a Chicago neighborhood, which resulted in the Supreme Court case, Hansberry v. Lee. The title of the play, A Raisin In the Sun, was taken from the poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes: “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” The New York Drama Critics’ Circle named it the play the best play of 1959. The play also featured the first Black director to have a play on broadway, Lloyd Richards.