To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in her Own Words, is a play about the life of American writer Lorraine Hansberry, adapted from her own writings. Hansberry was best known for her 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun , the first show on Broadway written by an African-American woman. After her death in 1965, Hansberry's ex-husband and friend, songwriter and poet Robert Nemiroff, collated her unpublished writings and adapted them into a stage play that first ran from 1968 to 1969 off Broadway. It was then converted into an equally successful autobiography with the same title.
Nina Simone wrote a song with this title, inspired by Hansberry's play and book.
The play was adapted from Lorraine's letters, interviews, and journal entries. It begins at the start of Lorraine's life, highlighting her early childhood in a Chicago ghetto to her college years and then later life, including the creation and inspiration for A Raisin in the Sun. Her journey from Chicago to New York was complicated by obstacles she overcame in order to get her play on Broadway and incorporates fragments of her personal life, such as her marriage and involvement in politics (e.g., her strong support of racial and gender equality). The play concludes with her battle with terminal illness, from which she eventually died at 34.
The play was well received and was one of the most successful plays off-Broadway during the 1968–1969 season. The play is still anthologized and performed around the world. The autobiography adapted from the play was also critically acclaimed.
In 1972, Michael Schultz directed a made-for-TV movie, also titled To Be Young, Gifted and Black, based on the stage play. It featured Roy Scheider, Blythe Danner, and Ruby Dee.
Lorraine Vivian Hansberry was a playwright and writer. She was the first African-American female author to have a play performed on Broadway. Her best-known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun, highlights the lives of black Americans in Chicago living under racial segregation. The title of the play was taken from the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes: "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?" At the age of 29, she won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award — making her the first African-American dramatist, the fifth woman, and the youngest playwright to do so. Hansberry's family had struggled against segregation, challenging a restrictive covenant in the 1940 US Supreme Court case Hansberry v. Lee.
Phylicia Rashad is an American actress, singer and director who is dean of the College of Fine Arts at Howard University. She is best known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–1992) which earned her Emmy Award nominations in 1985 and 1986. She also played Ruth Lucas on Cosby (1996–2000). She was dubbed "The Mother of the Black Community" at the 2010 NAACP Image Awards.
A Raisin in the Sun is a 1961 American drama film directed by Daniel Petrie and starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Roy Glenn, and Louis Gossett Jr., and adapted from the 1959 play of the same name by Lorraine Hansberry. It follows a black family that wants a better life away from the city. A Raisin in the Sun was released by Columbia Pictures on May 29, 1961.
Raisin is a musical with music by Judd Woldin, lyrics by Robert Brittan, and a book by Robert Nemiroff and Charlotte Zaltzberg. It is an adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play A Raisin in the Sun; the musical's book was co-written by Hansberry's husband, Robert Nemiroff.
Ivan Nathaniel Dixon III was an American actor, director, and producer best known for his series role in the 1960s sitcom Hogan's Heroes, and for his starring roles in the 1964 independent drama Nothing But a Man and the 1967 television film The Final War of Olly Winter. In addition, he directed many episodes of television series.
L. Scott Caldwell is an American actress perhaps best known for her roles as Deputy U.S. Marshall Erin Poole in The Fugitive (1993) and Rose on the television series Lost.
Alice Childress was an American novelist, playwright, and actress, acknowledged as "the only African-American woman to have written, produced, and published plays for four decades." Childress described her work as trying to portray the have-nots in a have society, saying: "My writing attempts to interpret the 'ordinary' because they are not ordinary. Each human is uniquely different. Like snowflakes, the human pattern is never cast twice. We are uncommonly and marvellously intricate in thought and action, our problems are most complex and, too often, silently borne." Childress became involved in social causes, and formed an off-Broadway union for actors.
Lonne Elder III was an American actor, playwright and screenwriter. Elder was one of the leading African American figures who informed the New York theater world with social and political consciousness. He also wrote scripts for television and film. His most well known play, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men won him a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The play, which was about a Harlem barber and his family, was produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969.
Philip Rose was a Broadway theatrical producer of such productions as A Raisin in the Sun, The Owl and the Pussycat, Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, Purlie, and Shenandoah. His work was particularly notable for its social insight and distinctive social conscience.
"To Be Young, Gifted and Black" is a song by Nina Simone with lyrics by Weldon Irvine. She introduced the song on August 17, 1969, to a crowd of 50,000 at the Harlem Cultural Festival, captured on broadcast video tape and released in 2021 as the documentary film Summer of Soul. Two months later, she recorded the song as part of her concert at Philharmonic Hall, a performance that resulted in her live album Black Gold (1970). Released as a single, it peaked at number 8 on the R&B chart and number 76 on the Hot 100 in January 1970. A cover version by Jamaican duo Bob and Marcia reached number 5 in the UK Singles Chart in 1970.
A Raisin in the Sun is a 2008 American period drama television film directed by Kenny Leon and starring Sean Combs, Audra McDonald, Phylicia Rashad, and Sanaa Lathan. The teleplay by Paris Qualles is based on the award-winning 1959 play of the same name by Lorraine Hansberry and is the second film adaptation of that play following the 1961 film that starred Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, and Diana Sands.
Diana Patricia Sands was an American actress, perhaps most known for her portrayal of Beneatha Younger, the sister of Sidney Poitier's character, Walter, in the original stage and film versions of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (1961).
Black Girl is an American family drama film with a screenplay by J.E. Franklin, based on her 1969 play, and directed by Ossie Davis. The film explores issues and experiences of black womanhood in the 1970s, including how black women were depicted and common stereotypes of the period. According to Melvin Donalson in Black Directors in Hollywood, "Black Girl is a film that explores the intricate and sometimes painful connections between mothers and daughters."
Clybourne Park is a 2010 play by Bruce Norris written as a spin-off to Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun (1959). It portrays fictional events set during and after the Hansberry play, and is loosely based on historical events that took place in the city of Chicago. It premiered in February 2010 at Playwrights Horizons in New York. The play received its UK premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in London in a production directed by Dominic Cooke. The play received its Chicago premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in a production directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Amy Morton. As described by The Washington Post, the play "applies a modern twist to the issues of race and housing and aspirations for a better life." Clybourne Park was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play.
A Raisin in the Sun is a play by Lorraine Hansberry that debuted on Broadway in 1959. The title comes from the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes. The story tells of a black family's experiences in south Chicago, as they attempt to improve their financial circumstances with an insurance payout following the death of the father, and deals with matters of housing discrimination, racism, and assimilation. The New York Drama Critics' Circle named it the best play of 1959, and in recent years publications such as The Independent and Time Out have listed it among the best plays ever written.
The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window is the second and last staged play by playwright Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun. The play is a story about a man named Sidney, his pitfalls within his personal life, and struggles in Bohemian culture. The play premiered October 15, 1964 and received mixed reviews. It encompasses themes of race, suicide, and homosexuality, and also focuses on individual characters learning to cope with life.
(To Be) Young, Gifted and Black may refer to:
Charlotte Zaltzberg was nominated for a Tony Award in 1974 for co-writing the book for the 1973 Broadway musical Raisin, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1974. She worked with Robert Nemiroff, Lorraine Hansberry's former husband and the executor of her estate, on adaptations of Hansberry's work for theater productions.
Robert B. Nemiroff was an American theater producer and songwriter, and the husband of Lorraine Hansberry.
Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart is a 2017 American documentary film by Tracy Heather Strain, Randall MacLowry and Chiz Schultz on the life and work of writer Lorraine Hansberry. Hansberry is best known as the playwright of A Raisin in the Sun, a story that partially mirrored experiences of her family in confronting racial segregation. It premiered in 1959, won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and was the first play by a Black woman to be produced on Broadway.