Listen: Chicago, New York, Lorraine discussed on Stuff Mom Never Told You
"And we're super excited today because it's time for another female I. Which means. You need. Why? Yes, because we don't have a producer, you know, audio library. We like to make our own here. Be fair. Yeah. This is all I can contribute really. And this means that we are once again, joined by our friend and co worker. They'd be here. Yes. Thank you so much for joining us Eve's. You can hear Eve's. And I'm sure a lot of you have seven days a week on this day in history class and on your new show unpopular. Yes. As we record recording times are strange as we record debuted today. Ansi producer Andrew was a part of that as well. That's really awesome. Do you wanna talk about that briefly? Sure I will talk about unpopular so unpopular is also about history. But the show focuses on one different person in every episode and in each episode, we kind of chart this path from how they resisted in how they rebuild and how they challenge the status quo during their time. So people like Fumio Ransome-Kuti who stood up for women's rights in Nigeria and during an independence and anti-colonialism to people like Galileo, who I'm sure a lot of us are familiar with his story, but the whole Galileo affair, and the heliocentric theory of. Of the being at the center of the universe, and we just kind of look at how that can be used to think about resistance today, and how we think about and today it word. He. Savannah's like that might describe it. And that is fitting because I think the person that you brought today is perfect if it's right into that she does. And you know what you kind of know, people's stories and you know that they were rebels and, you know that they were radical. But when you just get deep into their stories and you realize how many things they did that were just so so talen Jing and amazing. Yeah. Yeah. Her story is one of those in I'm talking about Lorraine hands berry. Yes. And as we talked about, in our first rendition of this female, I it is important to keep in mind, context of, when people are accomplishing these, these I and what we're talking about today is Broadway Broadway. Yes. So let's get into can you tell us a little bit about Lorraine hands for sure? So I always too, I just want to reiterate your point because that's something I would love to preface with every time. And they can help you think about I and Lorraine Hanbury's. I were that she was the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York drama Critics Circle award. And she was also the first black woman to have a play produced on Broadway. So those are awesome titles in awesome awards, but those didn't give her work anymore merit, her work with ready amazing before those things happened. Her work stands on its own as a great art, and even then Lorraine did so much more than just her art like her writing was super important and made a difference in the black community and in arts and drama overall, but she also did things outside of it. So those are titles that are part of her. Tire existence, basically, getting back to Lorraine. So she I would love to start with a quote, so. I try not to include a ton of quotes in this I just love quote. Yeah. I do too. So I would love to start with if that's okay with you. I think we'll we'll. Oh, wow. It. I need it. So she said, I was born on the south side of Sokoto. I was born black and a female. I was born in a depression after one World War and came into during another while I was still in my teens, the first atom bombs were dropped on human beings. And by the time I was twenty three years old, my government. And that of the Soviet Union had entered actively into the worst conflict of nerves in history, the Cold War. And she said this in March of nineteen Fifty-nine in a speech that she gave at the American society of African cultures. I conference of negro writers and I just want it to start with that quote, because I feel like it kind of contextual, is, is the time that she was born in, and what kind of challenges she and her family faced in like cow. Her upbringing could've been because affiliate it just it helps to frame people's lives in that way, when we're thinking about the things that they faced in what they were up. Against about trauma, right? Wow. Very tumultuous period. Periods. Different ones. You use hall period. Right. Like like you said, she was born in Chicago. I guess like she said in the new rid. Lord in Chicago in nineteen thirty on may nineteenth and yeah, she, she died January twelfth nineteen sixty five very young. Yes. Yes, yes. She dot very young. And I try not to get in this space because so many people who did really important thing that history died early. So I try not to get in the space when I'm reading about their stories and you get to see how much they did in such a short period of time and say, what would they have done if they were they, they live past that point. I can really because I get really down. When I think about think about the legacy that they created in a short period of time, and then, like, what if they would have done more of those things right in the next decade? So that is one thing about her story, this very, very saddening. I know there's a. A book coming out about her. And I think the author kept reiterating like don't forget, like getting there is that mind space. And you feel like oh cut so short. But don't forget, all of this stuff. She did do a little bit like self conscious because I'm older than her. All the things that she did. And I'm no. Doing anyway. Feel bad about myself. Q aspire. Like, well, I'm just gonna go eat chocolate on my couch now. Well, you know, t's and in comparison everybody's path in different who's sitting. I want to celebrate her not be about me, but. Inspire. Yes, yes, your nugget of wisdom. Keep you around. So let's talk about if you, if you don't mind kind of her early early history and what led her to, to Broadway. Yeah. So I think a good place to start is just kind of family experience and family environment. And what it was like to grow up in Chicago. So she was the child of nanny period. Hans berry and Carl Augusta's hands berry and she was the youngest of four children. Her mother was a teacher and award committee woman, and her father worked in real estate. He did pretty well in real estate. He actually created this small-scale kind of kitchenette for small apartments. That kind of brought him that success in real estate during the great depression, and her uncle was named William Leo. Hanes berry and he was a professor of African history at Howard University. So you kind of see this scholarship in, like the kind of parentage and the kind of role models in leadership that was in her life. So her father was involved in activism. He was involved with the in W C P as well and he had a huge impact. On her activism, and so did her uncle who's influenced likely helped shape purview on the black liberation movement? So she went to kindergarten in Chicago south side as well. And so as a child her as we know her parents were involved in activism, so she was around artists and activists like Paul Robeson, Walter white to Ellington, Langston Hughes and w e d boies who's gonna come back into her. Her story later on is he was to maintain contact with a lot of these people. Paul Robeson is back in the picture later on and had like a hand in her activism in her involvement in the community. Wow. Yes. But some big names. Yes. Some big name cameos in her story names. I wish I was that cool. Beer, that cool to yes. That's true. So this is one of the early experiences that kind of a big part of her life and her family that had to do with that kind of foundation of activism. So in nineteen thirty eight as you know, the family was doing pretty well successfully in business. And so they bought a house on the south side of Chicago in an all white neighborhood. And so there were restored racially restrictive covenants there at the time in the city. And so the white residents dot were there in the neighborhood in attempted to impose that restrictive. Covenant? So they can bar them from living there. And so, in these restrictive covenants, they had white property owners who agreed not to sell property to black people. And so that created this thing called the black belt in the south side of Chicago, which is a thing that happens in a lot of cities. Right. Right. But her family challenge that restrictive covenant. And so they did a test case for integrated housing, and they came out victorious in the nineteen forty. Supreme court decision enhance Barry versus Lee, and so that decision it reversed an earlier decision on a legal technicality. But that wasn't like that wasn't the end of racially restrictive covenants, but it was a step forward, basically. Yeah. Didn't like a mob form outside their house and somebody's through brick and almost hit. Yes. Significant nineteen forties. That is a huge significance in history. Oh my goodness. Right. And so they did. Yeah. They, they've threw that brick and almost hit her, and they describe it as being able to have had caused serious damage. It had hit her. And there's a quote that she wrote about her mom in the New York Times, saying that her mother was patrolling the house all night with the loaded German Luger, which is a pistol, so alma, which, you know, just is kind of, like gives you the imagery of like what kind of experience they had living in an all white neighborhood at the time. I mean, in that is just, like I know that's an understatement, like you, we know how much more that they had to deal with going into a place in knowing that you're not welcoming, right? Right, right. Actually live there. Right. Yeah. So, yeah, that was her experienced in south side, Chicago. So she ended up going to Inga. Would high school, which is also in Chicago. She graduated from there in nineteen forty eight and so after she went to the university of Wisconsin for two years from nineteen forty eight to nineteen fifty. And while she was there. She works to integrate her dorm, so she was already, you know, getting involved in things that had to do with social issues. She began participating in student theater, and she started studying plays and playwrights. And she was really inspired by our production of sano, Casey's Juno, and the Paycock so that kind of got her like spirit going when it came to the. And in her second year when she was at the university, she became the campus, chairman of the young, progressives of America, and she supported him rewards is a progressive Henry Wallace's nineteen forty eight candidacy, but kind of like after his law, she became disaffected with party politics, which is understandable, if you think about her, like her leadership in, like, how her family out of the black liberation movement, and how she was like, basically radicalizing I think that's a whole nother conversation in thinking about how views contained on liberation just. I'm not even gonna go there. The world continues as we progress in the years. Yeah changes. Absolutely. Because even though we are not fighting new things up thinking about it today. But yeah, it changes because of the perspectives changes, people change ideas change your right? Yeah. Episode of that. Ooh. We're all about. So while she was at the university, she was in theater class, onset design in her second year and the professor of that class gave her a D And said that she excelled in her work, but he didn't want to encourage a young black woman to enter a white dominated field was that to hold her back or two in his mind. Protect her, I'm going to guess, to protect her. That's how I read it does speculation. 'cause I'm not exactly. Sure. Yeah. Because I wonder like was it a malicious intent, right? But I would say in this case, the intent kind of doesn't matter. You're right. Absolutely. But that's a fair point to bring a I just think it's so interesting. When you look back in look people think they should do what is right. Is so absurd in hindsight. Yeah. I mean, but we can think about things like that. Our parents do for right, exactly. Their intent is there. But like the outcome -tection or whatever. But then general it holds people back, which is absolutely true. Right. That's still an interesting. Idea. And so after a little bit more schooling and realizing she wanted to pursue writing in theaters, she moved to New York, and she began attending the new school for social research. And so while she was in New York, this is the point where she links beca with Paul Robeson. So while she was in New York, she wrote articles for the young progressives in America magazine. And she became a reporter for Paul Robinson's, radical magazine, Leedom."