To put this accomplishment into some perspective, consider this: The late, great Dorothy Dandridge was the first Black person to be an Oscar nominee for a lead role performance. She was an Oscar nominee for Best Actress of 1954 thanks to her sensational work in the Fox musical drama, CARMEN JONES. The ignorance of Hollywood racism crippled her career. After that stunning performance, Dandridge would not get another Hollywood opportunity for a lead role until 1959's PORGY AND BESS in which she'd star opposite Sidney Poitier. Her lack of opportunities were because, although glamorous and a very good actress, she was Black. PORGY AND BESS would be her last major Hollywood film. Like Lorraine Hansberry, Dandridge's untimely death would come in 1965. She was in need of employment and only 42.
Hansberry created strong, substantial lead and supporting roles for Black actresses onstage and adapted them for a film version. I believe the Columbia Pictures production marked Ruby Dee's first lead role in a top Hollywood studio release.
Hansberry was a social activist and she was a member of the LGBTQ community. Here's a trailer for a documentary that premiered on PBS. It's essential viewing if you want to learn more about this American artist.