Introduction to Lorraine Hansberry and To Sit Awhile
Lorraine Hansberry Initiative’s To Sit Awhile statue by Alison Saar, celebrating the renowned American playwright and civil rights activist Lorraine Hansberry, will be at the Pillsbury House + Theater from August 16, 2022 through September 15, 2022. There will also be companion contributions from local artists and community events.
To Sit Awhile is an installation that features five chairs representing different aspects of Lorraine Hansberry’s too-short life and under-recognized legacy as a playwright, journalist, and civil rights activist for Black, female and queer voices, inviting community members to “never be afraid to sit a while and think”.
This research guide pulls together resources related to Lorraine Hansberry's life and times, as well as contemporary discussions of her work and activism. The resources here are by no means ALL of the resources available on the many people, events, and topics connected to Lorraine Hansberry. They are just a sample to get you started on your own research journey.
Please note: Only a few resources on this page are available to the general public from off-campus. If you would like to use the databases, books, or other collections the University of Minnesota Libraries are open to the public and databases can be accessed by anyone from a library computer.
Also, check with your local public library for resources like these from Hennepin County Library.
Search terms and strategies
Whether you are searching in library databases, the library catalog, Google Scholar, or just plain Google, creating a good search query will help you to find relevant information.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Library of Congress Subject Headings can be particularly helpful when search library catalogs, archives, and digital collections. You can pair a subject heading search with additional topics, events, and genres like biography, criticism, and history.
Each item on the bulleted list below links to the UMN library search by Library of Congress Subject Heading.
- Hansberry, Lorraine, 1930-1965
- Feminism and literature -- United States
- American literature -- African American authors
- African American women authors
- African American dramatists
- African American political activists
- African American civil rights workers
Creating a search query with keywords
While Library of Congress Subject Headings can be useful they can also be limiting. For most databases and even Google you can combine search terms to write a search query that databases understand. A good search query will give you a good selection of highly relevant results. Below are some tips for writing search queries using keywords and some examples.
- Use quotation marks to search words as a phrase, ex. "Lorraine Hansberry"
- Use the word AND to link together concepts, ex. "Lorraine Hansberry" AND "civil rights"
- Use the word OR to search for synonyms, ex. "civil rights" OR "social justice"