Lorraine Vivian Hansberry
- Filed under Activist, Author, Playwright, Race Theory
January 10, 2019
Life and Works after A Raisin in the Sun:
Lorraine Hansberry’s The Drinking Gourd, commissioned in 1959 for the National Broadcasting Company, was not produced. The story, dealing with the American slave system, was deemed too controversial for television. In 1963, Hansberry became very active in the Civil Rights Movement in the South. She was a field organizer for CORE (The Congress of Racial Equality) Along with several other celebrated people, including Lena Horne and James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry went to meet with then-attorney general Robert Kennedy to challenge his position on Civil Rights. In 1964 Hansberry wrote “The Movement: Documentary of a Struggle for Equality. Also in 1964.”
“As a public speaker, she conveyed her belief that art is social and that black writers must address all issues of humankind. As the civil rights movement intensified, she helped to organize fund-raising activities in support of organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), called for the abolition of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and declared that President John F. Kennedy had endangered world peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Along with her siblings, Lorraine established the Hansberry Foundation, an organization designed to inform African Americans of their civil rights, and encouraged their children to challenge the exclusionary policies of local restaurants and stores.”
Lorraine Hansberry was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and divorced her husband although they continued their literary collaboration. Hansberry’s next play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window had only a modest run on Broadway of 101 shows in 1964. By the time it opened at the Longacre Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry was spending most of her time in hospitals due to her battle with pancreatic cancer, which often required Hansberry’s use of a wheelchair to get to and from rehearsals. On January 12, 1965, Lorraine Hansberry died after her struggle with pancreatic cancer. That same night the curtain closed as The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window gave its last performance.
- Audra McDonald, Beah Richards, Bill Duke, Claudia McNeil, Danny Glover, Debbie Allen, Delroy Lindo, Denzel Washington, Diana Sands, Douglas Turner Ward, Ernestine Jackson, Esther Rolle, Gloria Foster, Glynn Turman, Helen Martin, Ivan Dixon, James Pickens Jr., Joe Morton, Kenny Leon, Kimberly Elise, Langston Hughes, LaTanya Richardson, Lloyd Richards, Lonne Elder III, Lorraine Hansberry, Mary Alice, Olivia Cole, P Diddy, Phylicia Rashad, Ralph Carter, Robert Nemiroff, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Ruby Dee, S. Epatha Merkerson, Sanaa Lathan, Sean Combs, Sidney Poitier, Starletta DuPois, Teagle F. Bougere, Viola Davis, Virginia Capers, William Leo Hansberry
ARCHIVIST, EDUCATOR, HISTORIAN, and ARTiST
Dale Ricardo Shields is a 2017 winner of The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award®, 2017 and 2015 Tony® award nominee for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, the 2017 AUDELCO/"VIV" Special Achievement Award, 2020, 2021, and 2022 ENCORE AWARD / The Actors Fund and winner of the 2022. Recently, he won the 2022 Legend Award from his alma mater Ohio University. He is the 2021 winner of the Paul Robeson Award, presented (jointly) by the Actors Equity Association and the Actors Equity Foundation.
His extensive professional credits as a Director, Stage manager, and Actor (Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and Regional) As an actor he has appeared on Saturday Night Live, Another World, Guiding Light, The Cosby Show, and the ITV television series "Special Needs" and commercials and film.
Professor Shields is a member of the Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the American Guild of Musical Artists performance unions and an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
He began his artistic academic career in New York City at Playwrights Horizon, The South Bronx Action Theatre, and Mind Builders, and then was invited to join the teaching staff at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre (New York Shakespeare Festival). He represented the United States for Theatre Young Audiences at the ASSITEJ Theatre Festival in London, England.
He has taught and been a visiting artist at Ohio University, The College of Wooster, Denison University, Macalester College, Susquehanna University, and SUNY Potsdam.
He holds B.F.A and M.F.A, Degrees from Ohio University.