In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry became the first female African American playwright on Broadway with her play A Raisin in the Sun. It continues to be one of the most produced plays in the world, but Hansberry’s contribution to the world was far greater than a single play. Her entire body of work as an artist, journalist, and civil rights leader has proven to be as incisive and relevant today as it was during her short lifetime and deserves to be studied and revered as such.
Over sixty years later, female playwrights of color remain the most underrepresented demographic on American stages. Despite making up 20% of the population, holding 20% of the degrees in English literature and performing arts, and being chosen by their peers for 20% of the spots in national playwright organizations, women of color only account for 6% of professional productions.
Through this initiative, we will keep the current national conversation about race, justice, and economic equality going by honoring Lorraine Hansberry. We will add to the growing movement to honor women and people of color with physical monuments. And, we will alleviate the financial inequality that discourages women and non-binary playwrights of color from pursuing graduate degrees in her chosen art form.
And, we will alleviate the financial inequality that discourages women and non-binary playwrights of color from pursing graduate degrees in playwrighting.