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Young, Black, and Determined: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry Hardcover – April, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up?This well-written biography brings its subject to life by successfully capturing that unique spark that makes Hansberry noteworthy and interesting. Writing in an engaging style, the McKissacks follow the woman's life chronologically. The daughter of influential, black upper-class parents, her early childhood in Chicago was studded with visits from African-American notables, such as W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Jesse Owens, and Duke Ellington. However, from an early age, she identified with those of her race who suffered the effects of poverty and discrimination. After she left college prematurely, she moved to New York where her writing career began in earnest. Throughout her life she was dedicated to the cause of civil rights and made her unique mark as a writer, a speaker, and an activist. This biography is divided into three long chapters, each covering a specific period of Hansberry's life. The text has been researched extensively and is well documented. It includes several references to telephone interviews with Hansberry's older sister Mamie and excerpts from the playwright's personal journal. The black-and-white photographs are well reproduced and do a fine job of supplementing the text. A time line and index are helpful reference aids. Whatever their purpose for using this volume, readers will find it lively and engaging.?Marilyn Heath, Greenwood High School, SC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 8^-12. Hansberry once noted that she was sent to kindergarten on Chicago's South Side too well dressed for the Depression years. "The kids beat me up; and I think it was from that moment I became a rebel." The youngest child of successful, politically involved parents who encouraged their children to succeed, Hansberry grew up in a spirited, intellectual atmosphere in which the likes of Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Jesse Owens, and others were entertained in her home. From an early age, she was aware of the tensions of racism that divided American society. Her father was party to a major Supreme Court case, Hansberry v. Lee, which invalidated a racially restrictive housing covenant. She studied briefly at the University of Wisconsin but left for the livelier confines of New York City in the early 1950s, where she wrote for Freedom, a monthly commentary founded by Robeson. She married Robert Nemiroff and began to write the play that became A Raisin in the Sun, and that work, of course, went on to make dramatic history. The McKissacks' biography sparkles with the energy and passion that characterize their subject. Readers can drink in the whole civil rights history of much of this century and an in-depth treatment of Hansberry's major play, along with her fascinating life, which cancer ended prematurely in 1965. The playwright's sister, Mamie, provides abundant material for this highly recommended biography. Bibliography; time line. Anne O'Malley

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1160L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; 1st edition (April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823413004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823413003
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,448,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Young,Black,and Determined:A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry is an excellant book for young adults. Frederick and Patricia McKissick's biography clearly states that Lorraine was sent to Kindergarten too well dressed (in her white fur coat)on Chicago's South Side. She grew up a rebel due to the fact that the kids beat her up. Lorraine grew up listening to her parents making clear, that she was "equal" and listening to the NAACP lawyers in her living room planning legal strategies. Lorraine learned to express herself and she wrote the play A Raisin in the Sun which later made dramatic history. Her life ended early from cancer. She had a fascinating life and the readers can re-live this and learn about the 1960's and how it has impacted our society. As a teacher, I would use this book and talk about current issues such as: discrimination, diversity, how we can impact our community, issues facing kids living in the inner city, and compare and contrast life of the 1960's on a teenager to the life of one today. Activities for my students would be to have students create a timeline of their own life, or have students develop and implement a community service project to help those in need in our society. Great book, a must to read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written and researched. A great companion to the Raisin in the Sun, play or studies of Black History.
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