In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry became the first Black woman to have a play on Broadway with A Raisin in the Sun. She was a fierce artist, journalist, and civil rights leader. Passing away at the young age of 34, Hansberry was able to accomplish great things in such a short time. Aside from writing A Raisin in the Sun, she also gave the world The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, which ran on Broadway for 101 performances and was considered a "rediscovered classic" by the Chicago Tribune in 2016.
Hansberry's contributions to the world are still being acknowledged today. Last year, her NYC home was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now, the theatrical visionary is being honored with a bronze statue entitled, "To Sit a While."
“Hansberry’s life and legacy has been depicted through a sculpture that is surrounded by five bronze chairs, telling the story of a different chapter of her life,” Los Angeles sculptor Alison Saar said in a statement. “I invite you to take a seat. Congregate with friends to read poems or sing songs of resistance. Gather with strangers to share ideas and dreams. Come alone and be inspired by the brilliance of Lorraine Hansberry. Be inspired to find your own brilliance. Be inspired to contribute to the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative to support women and non-binary artists of color, gift them the time and the space…to sit a while and think.”
Thanks to the Lorraine Hansberry initiative, the playwright will not only have her life celebrated, but her plans to keep the national conversation about race, justice, and economic equality going and empower future artists will be kept alive through scholarship opportunities!
You can find this statue on Howard University’s campus in front of the Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts Building. After December 5th, this traveling exhibition is hitting the road, making stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, and Chicago.
Photo: David Attie/Getty Images Lorraine Hansberry Initiative