Prior to her death in 1965, Lorraine Hansberry appointed her former husband and creative collaborator, Robert Nemiroff, to serve as her Literary Trustee to protect and promote her writings. Bob Nemiroff dedicated himself to this as her closest associate, chronicler, and champion until his death in 1991. He single-handedly orchestrated a movement to recognize Hansberry’s contribution to American theater, cultural criticism, and her discourse on the role of the artist in society.
Jewell Handy Gresham-Nemiroff became the successor to Robert Nemiroff, her husband, as literary executor to Hansberry’s estate. Following Nemiroff’s example, she approached this role with a full commitment and applied her experience as a writer, scholar, and social critic. She held this role until her death in 2005. At that time, Joi Gresham, daughter of Jewell Gresham-Nemiroff and Robert Nemiroff, assumed the role of Literary Trustee.
Ms. Gresham now serves as the Director and Trustee of the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust. She is also Co-Trustee with Matthew Lyons, nephew of Robert Nemiroff, of the Lorraine Hansberry Properties Trust. Thus the Lorraine Hansberry literary estate has remained intact for almost fifty years, under one stewardship and following the intentions articulated by Lorraine Hansberry herself.