March 2024 CRGW Colloquium

Dr. Sara Warner

This event has passed.

@ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Madison’s Queer Militant History: Lorraine Hansberry’s “Flowers for the General”
Sara Warner
Thursday, March 14, 2024, 1:30 pm in 3401 Sterling Hall and virtually via Zoom.

Playwright Lorraine Hansberry, best known as the author of A Raisin in the Sun, attended UW-Madison in the late 1940s, leaving before she completed her degree. A member of the campus’ Young Communist League, she participated in a number of political actions, one of which she documents in an unpublished play, Flowers for the General. Set in a women’s dormitory in the wake of World War II, this full-length script follows a diverse group of students debating pacifism and whether they should participate in an upcoming ceremony honoring a military hero’s visit to campus. The real drama, however, revolves around a stolen diary and the outing of a freshman Marcia, whose journal overflows with Sapphic love poetry for senior Maxine. I show how this unpublished script decenters Stonewall as our LGBTQ+ myth of origin. Penned in 1955 during the Lavender Scare and the author’s participation in the Civil Rights and Homophile Movements, this play sheds light on forgotten intersectional alliances among Black Freedom fighters, gay liberationists, and the New Left.