Read this, and you will learn so much — about American politics, Black activism, literary criticism, and one woman at the helm of it all in the 1950s and 60s. If you are like I was, anything you think you know about Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun is a flattened and incomplete portrait, stripped of the radical spirit that defined its author. Hansberry was an incredible person — the inspiration for Nina Simone's "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black" and close confidante of James Baldwin — and Imani Perry captures her here with an elegant balance of a biographer's reserve and distance, and love.— Morgan
A revealing portrait of one of the most gifted and charismatic, yet least understood, Black artists and intellectuals of the twentieth century. Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements with an unflinching commitment to social justice. Though she married a man, she identified as lesbian and, risking censure and the prospect of being outed, joined one of the nation' 's first lesbian organizations. Hansberry associated with many activists, writers, and musicians, including Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, W.E.B. Du Bois, among others. While her close friends and contemporaries, like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, have been rightly celebrated, her story has been relegated to one work' until now. Looking for Lorraine is a powerful insight into Hansberry' 's exceptional life' a life that was tragically cut too short.