Misconceptions and myths that surround Hansberry and her most famous play, A Raisin in the Sun (1959), are examined through a close reading of an unpublished play from Lorraine Hansberry’s archived papers, “Flowers for the General” (1955). In this play, Hansberry articulates lesbian identity fully in the character Marcia. The play’s major themes of the importance of upholding sociopolitical beliefs, the possibility of a sustainable lesbian identity, and the commonalities between the lesbian, Jewish, African American, and working-class characters combine to create a significant statement at an early point in Hansberry’s career. Various cultural, social, and political obstacles prevented Hansberry’s writing on sexuality—which anticipates current critical conceptions of female sexuality, same-sex relationships, and homosocial bonds—from being published or staged. However, examination of archival materials such as “Flowers for the General” is a necessary step in expanding the view of Hansberry’s complex and contradictory life and work outside of A Raisin in the Sun.

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