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Documentary Shows Lorraine Hansberry’s Influence Beyond ‘A Raisin In The Sun’

City Lights host Lois Reitzes spoke with the filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain about "Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart."
City Lights host Lois Reitzes spoke with the filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain about "Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart."
Credit Courtesy of PBS

The playwright Lorraine Hansberry is known for her work  “A Raisin in the Sun,” the first play written by an African American to be produced on Broadway. Less known is that her influence went far beyond that classic. A new documentary about the life of Hansberry has made the festival circuit and premieres on PBS later this month and digs much deeper into her life and influence.

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City Lights host Lois Reitzes spoke with the filmmaker behind the project Tracy Heather Strain, who started out the conversation with the inspiration behind the projects.

“I’d been thinking about Lorraine and doing research on her for years. It’s more than a labor of love. It’s almost like a calling,” Strain said. “I first encountered Lorraine Hansberry when I was 17. There was something about her. I had never encountered an African American woman who thought like that about race and class and gender … and she just stayed in my head.”

The documentary is part of PBS’s American Masters series and is called “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart.”