In Memoriam: Ntozake Shange, 1948-2018

Ntozake Shange, former professor at the University of Florida, passed away on October 27, at the age of 70. In addition to teaching, she was a playwright, poet, and author, whose most acclaimed theater piece is the 1975 Tony Award-nominated play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf.”

Professor Shange’s “For Colored Girls” describes racism, sexism, violence and rape experiences of seven Black women. The play was performed 750 times and was the second play by an African-American woman on Broadway. It was later turned into a feature film by Tyler Perry.

Shange was a professor of women’s studies at the University of Florida from 2002 to 2006. During her time there she wrote “Lavender Lizards and Lilac Landmines, Layla’s Dream,” which was performed on campus. Additionally, she led an initiative to identify forgotten slave burial grounds across the state of Florida.

Professor Shange held a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College in New York City and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California.

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