Ntozake Shange, born Paulette Williams in 1948, attended Barnard College (B.A., 1970) and the University of Southern California (M.A., 1973). She taught humanities, women’s studies, and Afro-American studies at California colleges from 1972 to 1975. During this period she also made public appearances as a dancer and reciter of poetry. Her 1975 theatre piece For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf quickly brought her fame. For Colored Girls is a group of 20 poems for seven actors on the power of black women to survive in the face of despair and pain. It ran for seven months Off-Broadway in New York City and moved to Broadway and was subsequently produced throughout the United States and on television.