Arts and Entertainment


What black playwright was the first to open her work on Broadway?

In 1959 playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry (1930–1965) was the first black woman to premiere a play on Broadway; it opened at the Barrymore Theatre on March 11. The play tells the story of a black family’s struggle to have a better life on the south side of Chicago. Hansberry took the title of her play, A Raisin in the Sun, from Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem”; it was the first serious black drama to impact the dominant culture. New York’s most influential critics gave the play positive reviews, and both black and white audiences were overwhelming in their favorable reaction to the play.


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