Each year we celebrate Black History Month in February with the hope that the achievements of black men and women will not be ignored, forgotten or misunderstood. It was therefore disturbing to read the comments made by David Richards in his review of Lorraine Hansberry's "Les Blancs" {Style, Feb. 12}. Mr. Richards, as a critic, has the right to his opinion concerning the production of this play at Arena Stage. However, his comments that "Les Blancs" should have been left in the trunk are dangerous.

Too often a writer's career is reduced to one successful creation, and people forget about his other contributions. In the case of Lorraine Hansberry, her masterpiece "A Raisin in the Sun" has overshadowed everything else she did or said.

Lorraine Hansberry was more than a playwright. She was the creative conscience and spirit of an important period in American history -- the civil rights movement. Like her friend James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry was a visionary. She was able to examine race relations in addition to other major issues. She was concerned with the role of the intellectual and with the responsibility of the individual (black and white) in a changing world. In "Les Blancs," it is obvious that her genius embraced the entire world. "Les Blancs" is critical to any understanding of this playwright. It is a complex play, a play of ideas. The focus is Africa, colonialism and revolution.

One should see "Les Blancs" primarily because it is an important play by an important American playwright. David Richards' negative review is an indication that many of us are still not ready for its message or its style. Yet overcoming the thinking and views of Mr. Richards is what Black History Month is all about. I hope people will not be discouraged by what Mr. Richards has written. E. ETHELBERT MILLER Director, Afro-American Resource Center Howard University Washington