Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lorain* + Lorrain* (for Lorrain* or Lorain*)

Lorraine Hansberry was an African-American playwright known almost exclusively for the play A Raisin in the Sun. Born in 1930, Hansberry grew up in a housing project on the South Side of Chicago and based her play on her family's legal struggles against the segregated housing laws in effect at that time. Hansberry died at the age of 34, but her short life was filled with eager promise and progressive attitudes. She dropped out of college in Madison, Wisconsin, to move to New York City and attend the New School for Social Research. She wrote many political essays and articles and was on the staff of the black newspaper Freedom, along with Paul Robeson. She also worked with W. E. B. DuBois. A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway and Hansberry was the youngest African-American playwright and fifth woman ever to receive the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. At a time when few people had the courage or understanding to do so, Hansberry actively addressed issues like Africa, abortion, and various forms of discrimination, even going so far as to join the lesbian rights group the Daughters of Bilitis and writing letters in 1957 to their magazine, The Ladder, on topics such as feminism and homophobia. Her play The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window also opened on Broadway and closed on the night she died. According to James Baldwin: "It is not at all farfetched to suspect that what she saw contributed to the strain which killed her, for the effort to which Lorraine was dedicated is more than enough to kill a man." We found 28 examples of today's typo in OhioLINK (a few of which were cases of two different people, or variant spellings within one record), and 214 times in WorldCat.

(Lorraine Hansberry, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

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