Lorraine Hansberry's Letters Reveal the Playwright's Private Struggle

The New York-based writer's secret correspondence

Courtesy the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, TransgenderHistorical Society, San Francisco
Lorraine Hansberry wrote anonymously to The Ladder.
Courtesy Jewell H. Gresham Nemiroff estate
Lorraine Hansberry wrote anonymously to The Ladder.

Details

'Twice Militant: Lorraine Hansberry's Letters to The Ladder'
Brooklyn Museum of Art
200 Eastern Parkway
718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org
Through March 16

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Among the many things Hansberry liked at age 28 were "slacks" and "Eartha Kitt's eyes, voice, legs, music"; she was bored with "A Raisin in the Sun," "loneliness," "most sexual experiences," "myself." Sometimes the lists are contradictory: When she was 29, Hansberry included "my homosexuality" under both "I like" and "I hate." Others are delightfully bawdy; at 32, Hansberry liked "69 when it really works" and "the inside of a lovely woman's mouth." Near the end of this catalog, she notes under "I am proud," a rarely used category, "that I struggle to work hard against many, many things." The invaluable "Twice Militant" shows just how brilliantly, how passionately Hansberry grappled with herself and the world at large.

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2 comments
jmmartin
jmmartin

"Raisin" was a monumental achievement, a better play than anything by, say, Arthur Miller. It's great to hear it's in revival. The entire cast of the movie version with Poitier was ensemble, and if the new production can match it, it should be the hottest ticket in town.

 
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