For the week of Jan. 11-17
1965—The extraordinarily talented author and dramatist Lorraine Hansberry dies. Deeply committed to the Black struggle, Hansberry’s brilliant career was cut short by cancer. She was only 35. Her primary works included “A Raisin In The Sun” and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” “A Raisin In The Sun” became the first play written by a young Black woman to be produced on Broadway.
1971—Popular R&B singer Mary J. Blige is born on this day in the Bronx, N.Y. Blige starred in the Lifetime movie “Betty and Coretta” alongside Angela Bassett, Malik Yoba and Lindsay Owen Pierre. She played Dr. Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X. The film premiered in February 2013.
1988—Scientists (paleo-anthropologists) announce the discovery of the “African Eve”—the mother of all humankind. Based on research in East African involving mitochondrial DNA, the researchers from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford, England, conclude that the original woman evolved in East Africa approximately 200,000 years ago and that all of humanity can ultimately trace their ancestry to this woman. However, some more recent studies suggest that humankind first evolved in Southern Africa.