Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart

118 min.


Thursday, Jan. 25 at 4:00pm

African and African-American Studies and Washington University Libraries present a new documentory about Lorraine Hansberry as part of the Henry Hampton Film Series.Filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain delivers a moving account of the life of Black playwright, communist, feminist, lesbian, and outspoken trailblazer Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun).

Lorraine Hansberry was a Black writer, communist, feminist, lesbian, and outspoken trailblazer at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. She led an active life, befriending James Baldwin, inspiring Nina Simone, breaking barriers from Broadway to Hollywood, being monitored by the FBI, and seeking love on her own terms, all before her untimely death at age 34.

Filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain, who earned her directing stripes with the renowned production company Blackside, delivers the rich biography that Hansberry deserves. Drawing upon multiple archives, including rare interview footage with Hansberry, the documentary features a wide range of her contemporaries. Tony Award–winning actor Anika Noni Rose gives voice to Hansberry's words. The film goes deep into the stage and screen productions of Hansberry's landmark work A Raisin in the Sun, about at Black family in her hometown Chicago. We hear from Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Louis Gossett Jr., and others involved in its productions.

For audiences who know Hansberry mainly for that work, Strain deepens our understanding of the writer's history, politics, and personal life. The film title comes from Hansberry's view that "one can not live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know or react to the miseries which afflict this world."

This event is free and open to the public and will be held in the Whitaker Auditorium on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.


Tracy Heather Strain

Sponsored by

African and African-American Studies, Washington University Libraries, and Cinema St. Louis.