Reimagining Biography: Meet panelist Margaret Wilkerson

Lorraine Hansberry: Reimagining Biography: drawing by Hansberry with text below: March 22, 2018, Schomburg Center, NYC. Panel conversation with Margaret Wilkerson, Imani Perry, Soyica Colbert, Tracy Heather Strain. Moderated by Joy-Ann Reid.

Reimagining Biography: Meet panelist Margaret Wilkerson

On April 23, 1995, as a new Fellow, Margaret Wilkerson delivered the lecture “Lorraine Hansberry: The Making of A Woman of the Theatre” to the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Dr. Wilkerson reads an excerpt from her 1995 manuscript:

“This lecture gives me an opportunity to speak on a subject that has occupied my thoughts for some time now—Lorraine Hansberry. I have entitled it, “Lorraine Hansberry: The Making of A Woman of the Theatre.”

Today, I want to talk about a couple of aspects of Lorraine Hansberry that are not well known: her political development and involvement with the American Left which helped to frame her work and develop as a playwright—what shaped her views, in other words. And second, her efforts to address the “woman question”—her feminist views.

. . . A truly remarkable woman, Hansberry relished the tough questions, and worked tirelessly to bring to the American stage a vision that encompassed both humankind’s cruelty and potential for greatness. Her character, Sidney Brustein, seems to speak for her:

"I care. I care about it all. It takes too much energy not to care. Yesterday I counted twenty-six gray hairs on the top of my head all from trying not to care. . . The why of why we are here is an intrigue for adolescents; the how is what must command the living. Which is why I have lately become an insurgent again."

(Hansberry quote from Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun and The Sign on Sidney Brustein’s Window, Vintage Books, 1995, p.269.)

Join us on March 22 to hear more from Dr. Wilkerson about her forthcoming biography, Lorraine Hansberry: Am I a Revolutionary? 

Lorraine Hansberry: Reimagining Biography

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Panel Discussion 6:30-8:00pm
Reception 8:00-9:00pm

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Blvd (135th St and Malcolm X Blvd)
New York, NY, 10037

This is a free event, but as space is limited please RSVP here.

Lorraine Hansberry: Reimagining Biography panelists includes Margaret Wilkerson (author of forthcoming Lorraine Hansberry: Am I a Revolutionary? and Professor Emerita of African Diaspora Studies and Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley); Imani Perry (author of the forthcoming Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry and a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University); Soyica Colbert (author of the forthcoming Lorraine Hansberry: Artist/Activist (Yale University Press, 2019) and professor of African American Studies and Theater & Performance Studies at Georgetown University); and Tracy Heather Strain, (director of Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes|Feeling Heart, PBS national broadcast January 2018.) The panel will be introduced by Joi Gresham, the executive director of the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust, and moderated by Joy-Ann Reid (national correspondent, MSNBC).

Image Information: 

Pen & ink drawing on newspaper by Lorraine Hansberry. In 1948, Lorraine enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she took art classes. During the summer of 1949 she studied painting at the University of Guadalajara art workshop in Ajijic, Mexico and during the summer of 1950 she studied art at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018