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Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history.

Lorraine Hansberry Public School 118, in Queens, inadvertently honors an LGBT individual.

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History

Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project compiled a list of the 25 public schools named after gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, although only one — Harvey Milk High School — intentionally honors an LGBT individual. This list includes Lorraine Hansberry Public School 118, in Queens, which opened in 1927 and was likely renamed for Hansberry in 1965.

African-American playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) moved to New York City in 1950. In 1956, she began what would become her best-known work: a dramatic play about a Black family in her native, segregated Chicago, called A Raisin in the Sun. Its New York premiere in 1959 made Hansberry the first Black woman to have a play staged on Broadway. Even before the play’s success, she privately identified as a lesbian and wrote letters, under a pseudonym, to The Ladder, the monthly national publication of the Daughters of Bilitis, the nation’s first lesbian organization.

Sites on this website associated with Hansberry include her Bleecker Street residence and Waverly Place residence in Greenwich Village and the Ethel Barrymore Theater in the Broadway Theater District.

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