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A Raisin in the Sun Background

Created by Chelsea Alessandro, Towson University, 2014

Jennifer Hamilton

on 26 February 2014

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Transcript of A Raisin in the Sun Background

In the 1940's
The American Dream
The American Dream:
Post-War Chicago

Success is defined by:

personal property


professional achievement
Martin Luther King, Jr., in his "letter from a Birmingham Jail" (1963) rooted the civil rights movement in the black quest for the American Dream-
population of African Americans in the country.

Blacks migrated into Chicago during
from rural areas because of the availability of jobs.
Wednesday, February 26th 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Moving Forward
The Modern Civil Rights Movement
About the Author and Her Play
Lorraine Hansberry
A Raisin in the Sun
Historical Background Information

1931: "Scottsboro Boys" Case
African American youths are accused of raping
white women and tried for their lives and
convicted in Scottsboro, Alabama.

The case attracts
national attention
and will help fuel the
civil rights movement.
1942: CORE is Formed in Chicago
The interracial
Congress of Racial Equality
(CORE) is formed in
It will become famous for organizing the
Freedom Rides of 1961
1947: Jackie Robinson
Baseballs great Jackie Robinson becomes the
first African American
to break the
color barrier
and be allowed to play in the major leagues.
1948: Desegregation of the US Military
President Truman
issues an executive order that desegregates the military.
May 17th, 1954: Brown v. Board of Education
US Supreme Court
rules on the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education
Topeka, Kansas.
They ruled that
segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.
August 1955: Racial Violence
14 Year-old
Chicagoan Emmett Till
is visiting family in Mississippi when he is
kidnapped, brutally beaten, shot, and dumped
in the Tallahatchie River for allegedly
whistling at a white woman
December 1955: Rosa Parks
Member Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the "colored section" of the bus to a white passenger, defying the
southern custom of the time.

In response to her arrest, the Montgomery black community launches a
bus boycott,
which will last for more than a year until buses are
desegregated in Dec. 1956.

1957: Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr., helps fund the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
to work for full equality for African Americans.
September 1957: Central High School
Central High School learns that integration is easier said than done.

black students are blocked from entering school on the orders of
Governor Orval Faubus

federal troops
and the
National Guard
to intervene on behalf of the students, who become known as the
"Little Rock Nine."

1959: Lorraine Hansberry
Lorraine Hansberry's
"A Raisin in the Sun"
is the first play by an African American woman to be
produced on Broadway.

If you work hard enough you can achieve financial and social success.
"We will win our freedom because the sacred
of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our
echoing demands
... when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality
standing up for what is best
in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the
Constitution and the Declaration of Independence."
Post-War Chicago

segregation was illegal but neighborhoods were still
along racial lines.

Due to
supply and demand
, property in White neighborhoods was
than black neighborhoods.

Blacks who moved into white neighborhoods faced major discrimination including
arson and vandalism
Lorraine Hansberry
Hansberry was born in
and died in
of cancer.
She was
years old.

She grew up in
in a middle class family
Hansberry's play
A Raisin in the Sun
was the first play written by a
black women
to be produced on

Hansberry was the first
black director
on Broadway.
A Raisin in the Sun
A Raisin in the Sun
was written in
and first produced in

The title of the play comes from the poem "
" by
Langston Hughes.

Hansberry has first hand knowledge of living in an
all white neighborhood.

Her family was involved in a Lawsuit,
Hansberry v. Lee,
311 U.S. 32 1940, against a group trying to
African Americans from
houses in white neighborhoods.

Full transcript