Fifty years ago tonight – on March 11, 1959 – “A Raisin in the Sun” premiered on Broadway.
It was the first play by a black woman to be produced on the Great White Way. Lorraine Hansberry’s kitchen-sink drama is now an American classic.
Did you know that two original cast members from “A Raisin in the Sun” later found success as writers?
Lonne Elder III received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay “Sounder.” And Douglas Turner Ward co-founded the Negro Ensemble Company.
The Broadway cast also included a 12-year-old Glynn Turman... not to mention Sir Sidney and Ruby Dee and Lou Gossett and Ivan Dixon.
In memory of Lorraine Hansberry, I present a 3½-minute excerpt from a 1961 panel discussion in which she participated. It was called “The Negro in American Culture.”
Click here to stream it on my Vox blog.
(“The Negro in American Culture,” first broadcast on WBAI, is part of the Pacifica Radio Archives. You can download a half-hour of the program – which also features James Baldwin and Langston Hughes – from the Internet Archive for free.
(How mind-blowing is that?)