Lorraine Hansberry has never really left the spotlight. Her work is widely taught and her most famous play, “A Raisin in the Sun,” is back on Broadway for its second revival. Now her estate has created the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust, a virtual space that will offer all things Hansberry and showcase her as a writer, public intellectual and civil rights activist. The site, lorrainehansberryliterarytrust.org, is scheduled to go live on April 1, Joi Gresham, the director and co-trustee of Hansberry’s literary trust said Monday.
The website will offer never-before released photographs of Hansberry; a connection to her archive at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; biographical information; video clips of her television interviews and productions of her plays; and audio of her radio interviews,her speeches, and cast recordings. Included is a bibliography of Hansberry’s essays and articles, including her work as journalist for The Village Voice and other leftist publications and examples of Hansberry’s drawings, sketches and paintings.
“The big deal is to bring attention to her other work,” Ms. Gresham said. “It’s an opportunity for people to understand her many facets.” Hansberry, for example, was very active behind the scenes in the civil rights campaign. She held a fund-raiser at her home to buy the station wagon that the civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Andrew Schwerner were driving when they were kidnapped and murdered in 1964, Ms. Gresham said.
Ms. Gresham’s mother was married to Hansberry’s ex-husband, Robert Nemiroff, the Broadway producer who remained Hansberry’s close friend and collaborator even after their divorce. When Hansberry died in 1965 at age 34 he became the executor of her estate. When he died in 1991 his wife, Jewell Handy Gresham Nemiroff, began licensing and managing Hansberry’s copyrighted work. When Ms. Nemiroff died, Ms. Gresham took on that role. In addition to licensing and managing Hansberry’s work, the trust also consults and advises artists, writers and researchers involved in projects about Hansberry, Ms. Gresham said.
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