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Lorraine Hansberry

  • Sometimes, I can see the future stretched out in front of me — just as plain as day. The future hanging over there at the edge of my days. Just waiting for me.

  • Ah, I like the look of packing crates! A household in preparation for a journey! ... Something full of the flow of life, do you understand? Movement, progress ...

  • Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.

  • There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing.

  • Seem like God don't see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams — but He did give us children to make them dreams seem worthwhile.

  • Children see things very well sometimes — and idealists even better.

  • It is difficult for the American mind to adjust to the realization that the Rhetts and Scarletts were as much monsters as the keepers of Buchenwald — they just dressed more attractively.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • speech, Town Hall, NYC ()
  • Though it be a thrilling and marvellous thing to be merely young and gifted in such times, it is doubly so — doubly dynamic — to be young, gifted and black.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • in Negro Digest ()
  • Yes ... weep now, darling, weep. Let us both weep. That is the first thing: to let ourselves feel again. ... Then, tomorrow, we shall make something strong of this sorrow.

  • I happen to believe that most people — and this is where I differ from many of my contemporaries, or at least as they express themselves — I think that virtually every human being is dramatically interesting. Not only is he dramatically interesting, he is a creature of stature whoever he is ...

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • in Robert Nemiroff, ed., To Be Young, Gifted and Black ()
  • I believe that one of the most sound ideas in dramatic writing is that in order to create the universal, you must pay very great attention to the specific. Universality, I think, emerges from truthful identity of what is.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • in Robert Nemiroff, ed., To Be Young, Gifted and Black ()
  • Eventually it comes to you: the thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely ...

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • in Robert Nemiroff, ed., To Be Young, Gifted and Black ()
  • American straightforwardness is almost as disarming as Americans invariably think it is.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • in Robert Nemiroff, ed., To Be Young, Gifted and Black ()
  • Ball points belong to their age. They make everyone write alike.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • in Esquire ()
  • I think that the human race does command its own destiny and that that destiny can eventually embrace the stars.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • in The New York Times Theater Reviews ()
  • When a man knows that the abstraction ten exists — nothing on earth can stop him from looking for the fact of eleven.

  • A woman who is willing to be herself and pursue her own potential runs not so much the risk of loneliness as the challenge of exposure to more interesting men — and people in general.

  • I think that the glorious thing about the human race is that it does change the world — constantly. The world or 'life' may seem to more often overwhelm the human being's capacity for struggling against being overwhelmed which is remarkable and exhilarating.

  • The grim possibility is that she who 'hides her brains' will, more than likely, end up with a mate who is only equal to a woman with 'hidden brains' or none at all.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • "In Defense of the Equality of Men," in Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, eds., The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women ()
  • Obviously the most oppressed of any oppressed group will be its women.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • 1959, in Adrienne Rich, "The Problem of Lorraine Hansberry," Blood, Bread, and Poetry ()

Lorraine Hansberry, U.S. playwright, writer, civil rights worker

(1930 - 1965)

Full name: Lorraine Vivian Hansberry.