Understanding A Raisin in the Sun: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents

Synopsis

A Raisin in the Sun is the first play by a black woman to be produced in a Broadway theater. First performed in 1959, before the civil rights and women's movements came to the fore, it raises issues of segregation, family strife, and relationships between men and women that are both representative of the time and timeless in their universality. This interdisciplinary collection of commentary and forty-five primary documents will enrich the reader's understanding of the historical and social context of the play. A wide variety of primary materials sheds light on integration and segregation in the 1950s and 1960s; relationships between African Americans and Africans; relationships between men and women within African American culture; Chicago as a literary setting for the play; and contemporary race relations in the 1990s. Documents include first-person accounts, magazine articles and editorials espousing opposing arguments, excerpts from the works of Toni Morrison, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, bell hooks, Malcolm X, and Richard Wright, and a selection of pertinent government documents and eye-opening statistics. Many of the documents are available in no other printed form. Each chapter concludes with study questions and topics for research papers and class discussion, as well as lists of further reading for examining the themes and issues raised by the play.