LORRAINE HANSBERRY (1930-1965) was an African-American playwright, author and activist born and raised in Chicago. Her best-known work, A Raisin in the Sun, was inspired by her family’s battle against racial segregation. When the play opened on Broadway in 1959, it was the first to be produced by an African-American woman, and Hansberry became the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle award. Hansberry’s second play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, opened on Broadway in 1963 and closed the night she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 34. After her death, Hansberry’s ex-husband Robert Nemiroff became the executor for several unfinished manuscripts, completing her play Les Blancs, and adapting many of her writings into the play To Be Young, Gifted and Black, which went on to become the longest-running Off Broadway play of the 1968-1969 season.