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Young, Black, and determined : a biography of Lorraine Hansberry /

A biography of the black playwright who received great recognition for her work at an early age. Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: McKissack, Fredrick.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Holiday House, 1998
Edition: First edition.
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Here is the remarkable story of the first African-American woman to open a play, A Raisin in the Sun, on Broadway.

Review by Booklist Review

Gr. 8^-12. Hansberry once noted that she was sent to kindergarten on Chicago's South Side too well dressed for the Depression years. "The kids beat me up; and I think it was from that moment I became a rebel." The youngest child of successful, politically involved parents who encouraged their children to succeed, Hansberry grew up in a spirited, intellectual atmosphere in which the likes of Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Jesse Owens, and others were entertained in her home. From an early age, she was aware of the tensions of racism that divided American society. Her father was party to a major Supreme Court case, Hansberry v. Lee, which invalidated a racially restrictive housing covenant. She studied briefly at the University of Wisconsin but left for the livelier confines of New York City in the early 1950s, where she wrote for Freedom, a monthly commentary founded by Robeson. She married Robert Nemiroff and began to write the play that became A Raisin in the Sun, and that work, of course, went on to make dramatic history. The McKissacks' biography sparkles with the energy and passion that characterize their subject. Readers can drink in the whole civil rights history of much of this century and an in-depth treatment of Hansberry's major play, along with her fascinating life, which cancer ended prematurely in 1965. The playwright's sister, Mamie, provides abundant material for this highly recommended biography. Bibliography; time line. --Anne O'Malley

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up‘This well-written biography brings its subject to life by successfully capturing that unique spark that makes Hansberry noteworthy and interesting. Writing in an engaging style, the McKissacks follow the woman's life chronologically. The daughter of influential, black upper-class parents, her early childhood in Chicago was studded with visits from African-American notables, such as W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Jesse Owens, and Duke Ellington. However, from an early age, she identified with those of her race who suffered the effects of poverty and discrimination. After she left college prematurely, she moved to New York where her writing career began in earnest. Throughout her life she was dedicated to the cause of civil rights and made her unique mark as a writer, a speaker, and an activist. This biography is divided into three long chapters, each covering a specific period of Hansberry's life. The text has been researched extensively and is well documented. It includes several references to telephone interviews with Hansberry's older sister Mamie and excerpts from the playwright's personal journal. The black-and-white photographs are well reproduced and do a fine job of supplementing the text. A time line and index are helpful reference aids. Whatever their purpose for using this volume, readers will find it lively and engaging.‘Marilyn Heath, Greenwood High School, SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Patricia C. McKissack was born in Smyrna, Tennessee on August 9, 1944. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Tennessee State University in 1964 and a master's degree in early childhood literature and media programming from Webster University in 1975. After college, she worked as a junior high school English teacher and a children's book editor at Concordia Publishing.

Since the 1980's, she and her husband Frederick L. McKissack have written over 100 books together. Most of their titles are biographies with a strong focus on African-American themes for young readers. Their early 1990s biography series, Great African Americans included volumes on Frederick Douglass, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. Their other works included Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers and Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. Over their 30 years of writing together, the couple won many awards including the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal, a Newbery Honor, nine Coretta Scott King Author and Honor awards, the Jane Addams Peace Award, and the NAACP Image Award for Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?. In 1998, they received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

She also writes fiction on her own. Her book included Flossie and the Fox, Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt, A Friendship for Today, and Let's Clap, Jump, Sing and Shout; Dance, Spin and Turn It Out! She won the Newberry Honor Book Award and the King Author Award for The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural in 1993 and the Caldecott Medal for Mirandy and Brother Wind. She dead of cardio-respiratory arrest on April 7, 2017 at the age of 72.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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