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Background Information

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Presentation on theme: "Background Information"— Presentation transcript:

1 Background Information
A Raisin in the Sun Background Information

2 “A Dream Deferred” What happens to a dream deferred
“A Dream Deferred” What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? - Langston Hughes

3 A Note on the Title Lorraine Hansberry took the title of A Raisin in the Sun from a line in Langston Hughes’s famous 1951 poem “Harlem.” “Harlem” captures the tension between the need for black expression and the impossibility of that expression because of American society’s oppression of its black population. In the poem, Hughes asks whether a “dream deferred”—a dream put on hold—withers up “like a raisin in the sun.”

4 More on the title His lines confront the racist and dehumanizing attitude prevalent in American society before the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Hansberry’s reference to Hughes’s poem in her play’s title highlights the importance of dreams in A Raisin in the Sun and the struggle that her characters face to realize their individual dreams, a struggle tied to the more fundamental black dream of equality in America.

5 The Great Migration The Great Migration is a term used to describe the mass migration of African Americans from the southern United States to the industrial centers of the Northeast and Midwest between the 1910s and 1960s. Up South: African American Migration to Chicago

6 A Raisin in the Sun was written in the 1950’S
A Raisin in the Sun was written in the 1950’S. What do you know about the 1950’S? 1950's Video

7 Lorraine Hansberry May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965
African American playwright Also an author of political speeches, letters, and essays Daughter of a prominent real-estate broker and the niece of a Harvard University professor of African history

8 Early Life Youngest of four children of Carl Augustus Hansberry (a wealthy, real estate broker in segregated Chicago) and Nannie Louise Perry She grew up on the south side of Chicago in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

9 Controversial Move In 1937, her father purchased a home in the Washington Park Subdivision an all-white neighborhood, where they faced racial discrimination Washington Park had a restrictive covenant that said no black person could live in or own a home in the subdivision Washington Park fought Hansberry and they went to court in 1937

10 Supreme Court case of Hansberry versus Lee
Hansberry's father engaged in a legal battle against a racially restrictive covenant that attempted to prohibit African-American families from buying homes in the area. Though victors in the Supreme Court, Hansberry's family was subjected to what Hansberry would later describe as a "hellishly hostile white neighborhood." This experience later inspired her to write her most famous work, A Raisin in the Sun.

11 “Hansberry Decision Opens 500 New Homes to Race” The Chicago Defender Saturday, November 16, 1940

12 Later Hansberry Finding college to be uninspiring, Hansberry left in 1950 to pursue her career as a writer in New York City. She worked on the staff of a Black newspaper called Freedom. It was at this time she wrote A Raisin in the Sun.

13 Civil Rights Movement What was the Civil Right Movement?
What was the goal of this movement? Were there any other movements during the period?

14 Social Background Published in 1959, four years after Rosa Parks’ was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a bus, sparking the Civil Rights Movement, Hansberry’s play illustrates black America’s struggle to gain equal access to opportunity and expression of cultural identity.

15 Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil-Rights Leader
Sentiments in A Raisin… will be echoed by MLK in later speeches, marches, and rallies Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil-Rights Leader I have a dream… a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’

16 Cont’d dreams represented in the play and later echoed by King
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream…where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

17 MLK How does King help to develop the idea of the American Dream?
What does he do to the existing American Dream?

18 A Raisin in the Sun Originally title “A Crystal Stair” from another Langston Hughes’ poem First production in 1959 Known as the "movin’ on up" morality play of the 1960s Morality play - It uses allegorical characters to teach the audience moral lessons

19 The Play Opened on Broadway on March 11, 1959
Cast includes Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, and Ruby Dee The New York Drama Critics name it the Best American Play of 1959 Ran for nearly 2 years on Broadway Made into a film starring most of the Broadway cast in 1961

20 Basics of the Play The story is based upon her family's own experiences growing up in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood. A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, as well as the first play with a black director (Lloyd Richards) on Broadway

21 Importance of the Play A Raisin in the Sun can be considered a turning point in American art and drama because it addresses so many issues important during the 1950s in the United States Hansberry creates in the Younger family one of the first honest depictions of a black family on an American stage

22 …Importance of Play Broaches important issues and conflicts,
such as poverty, discrimination, and the construction of African-American racial identity

23 Themes to Look For Dreams Money Family Women’s Rights
Racial Tensions and Discrimination Assimilation Cultural Heritage Self-Identity and Self-Expression

24 Symbols Definition: Some reoccurring image that stands for an idea beyond itself Be out on the lookout for symbols throughout the play!

25 Big Questions To what extent do our dreams define who were are? When is it OK or right to “defer” our dreams? How and where did racism occur after slavery and segregation? Where does it exist today? What about sexism? What does one need in order to find self-identity? To “know thyself?”

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