(born May 19, 1930, Chicago, Ill., U.S.—died Jan. 12, 1965, New York, N.Y.) U.S. playwright. Her first play was A Raisin in the Sun (1959), a penetrating psychological study of a working-class African American family in Chicago. The first drama by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, it won high critical praise and was filmed in 1961. Her next play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window (1964), a drama of political questioning and affirmation, had a modest Broadway run. Her promising career was cut short by her early death from cancer.
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