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Who We Are

Who We Are: Stewardship

The story of the creation and naming of the LHLT is a story about family; the blended family that Lorraine chose. One of the most important people that she chose was Robert Nemiroff.

Bob was Lorraine's comrade and closest companion on many levels and though their marriage lasted a little over ten years, their creative partnership extended indefinitely, past Lorraine’s death in 1965 and Bob’s in 1991. Lorraine chose Bob as her literary executor upon her death in order to protect the integrity of her writings and continue her legacy. Bob then dedicated his life to collecting, organizing, and cataloguing the entire body of her work.

In the late 1960s he purchased her literary estate and secured her copyrights. Added to these responsibilities, Bob contributed introductions and forewords to the print editions of her plays, books, recordings, and other collections of her works. He also brought her lesser-known works to the stage as a producer, consultant, and advisor.

Upon Bob’s death in 1991, his wife Jewell Handy Gresham-Nemiroff, writer, social critic, and professor continued in this capacity as literary executor of the Robert Nemiroff estate, which now owned and controlled the Hansberry copyrights. Jewell shared Bob’s commitment and dedication to the Hansberry legacy. She applied her skills as a literary scholar, cultural critic, and activist in promoting Hansberry’s work. She was responsible for depositing the Hansberry papers at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture/New York Public Library in 2000.

When Jewell died in 2005, I, her only child, inherited the Jewell Handy Gresham-Nemiroff Trust that holds and manages the Hansberry and Nemiroff copyrights and the Lorraine Hansberry Properties Trust that controls the broad body of intellectual properties. Shortly after, I began the process of creating and establishing a new trust entity: the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust, a user-friendly interface between the author’s literary estate and the public.

With a thirty-year career in dance, Black studies, and education and with the childhood experience of having lived in Hansberry’s home where her legacy was shaped and defined, I follow my parents in my deep commitment and connection to Lorraine Hansberry.

I consider my father, Bob Nemiroff, to be my mentor in my work as producer and creative consultant. This transfer in leadership secures the lineage that has stewarded the Hansberry literary estate for what will soon be fifty years, all in one blended family. This Trust and this website are dedicated to Lorraine and to the power of choice in our lives. . .

Joi Gresham

Matthew Nemiroff Lyons

Jewell Handy Gresham-Nemiroff

Robert Nemiroff