Black LGBT Pioneers You Should Know

As Black History Month comes to a close, here are a few people whose groundbreaking work should be celebrated all year.



Lorraine Hansberry
Writer and activist Lorraine Hansberry was raised by parents who decided to take a stand against discrimination when they waged a legal battle challenging housing segregation in the city of Chicago. Her parents' legal saga influenced her most famous work, A Raisin In The Sun (1959).

She felt a greater calling than college and left the University of Wisconsin to work in New York on Paul Robeson's political journal Freedom, where she met her husband Robert Nemiroff, who she married in 1962. But before that, she was a member of the Daughters of Bilitis, one of the earliest recorded lesbian organizations, and wrote entries to The Ladder, the organization's groundbreaking newsletter, in 1957. Hansberry signed with her initials, "L.H.," as was standard in the journal. She also wrote an unpublished letter to ONE magazine in 1961 urging gay men to accept feminists. It wasn't until after her death in 1965 at age 34, that the letters were revealed to have been written by Hansberry.