Aug 2, 2021
In this episode we interview Dr. Soyica Diggs Colbert about her recently published book, Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry. Most well known as the playwright behind A Raisin In The Sun, Hansberry was a journalist and editor for Paul Robeson’s Freedom, which covered domestic and international politics and social movements from a Black Radical perspective in the 1950’s. In the 50’s Hansberry was firmly embedded in a radical milieu that included Robeson, Du Bois, William Patterson, Claudia Jones, and Alice Childress among others in the Popular Front left of the era.
An anti-imperialist activist and supporter of anti-colonial movements, Hansberry’s radical past was obscured or unknown in the press reports following the success of her play A Raisin In The Sun. Colbert’s work discusses the breadth of the radical journalism, organizing and thought that exists within Hansberry’s archive and how it weaves into her more well known published work. We talk to Colbert about Hansberry’s internationalism, her comrades, her friends, and her theoretical contributions as a Black Queer Radical, in a 1950’s and early 60’s era when anti-black racism, McCarthyism, patriarchy and homophobia meant that Hansberry’s most radical contributions were delivered under multiple forms of duress and at times anonymity. Nevertheless, her contributions to Black Internationalism, the Civil Rights Movement, and the politics of gender and sexuality were all substantial and prototypical of the elaborations of Black Left Feminism that would evolve after her untimely death at just 34 years of age.
Lastly August is upon us, and we’re getting ready to make some announcements and have some more big episodes in the coming weeks. We are about 150 patrons short of hitting 1,000 patrons, which is our new goal. So if you have not become a patron of the show, please do, you can join for as little as $1 a month.