Ethel Barrymore Theatre
America created a new form of slavery, making it into a cruel game with the American dream dangling in front of them, giving them the ideas that they could be equal. Our play writer is Lorraine Hansberry; she was a great help for the fight for equality. When her play A Raisin In The Sun “Opened up on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on March 11, 1959” it had “enormous success, and it had run 530 performances“(Blooms 12). Her accomplishments were not expected in the 1950s. To add onto her many accomplishments, she was not only the youngest and first black woman to win this award, but she was the first woman “to win the Best Play of the Year Award of the New York Drama Critics Circle” (Blooms 12).
The many awards given were an honor for Lorraine as well as the African American Community. Lorraine also told the world something, that nobody expected. Hansberry wrote “I was born black and female” (Bloom13). After reading the article from Blooms Guide, we see Bloom rave about this quote saying she “Reject the limits society placed on her race and gender”(Blooms 14). For those who know how hard life was for the Black community, Lorraine Hansberry was a light in a dark time. Lorraine had the gift to make people listen, whether it was from laughing or crying from her poetry painted across the stage. Lorraine Hansberry was an undeserving victim of racism in her real life. Lorraine was only a child when the hate crime happened to her and her family. In the book Bloom’s Guide we see the Hansberry’s family attacked by a mob; this is when a mobster threw a brick through the house. This was it ’narrowly missing eight-year-old Lorraine’ (Bloom’s 13).
Moving Into a White Neighborhood
These traumatizing events had a silver lining, as displayed in Blooms Guide we saw this was an inspiration for A Raisin In The Sun. The idea of moving into a white Neighborhood as a black family was unheard of in the 1950s as she did. Lorraine Hansberry was a great help for the fight for equality. Sadly Lorraine was taken from the earth to soon. “Hansberry lived from 1930-1965″(Smith 17); that would only make her only 35 years of age. After she had died from cancer; they had a funeral for her, where Martin Luther King spoke saying “Her creative ability and her profound grasp of the deep social issues confronting the world today will remain an inspiration to generations yet unborn’(Young, Gifted and Black). The kind words capture who Lorraine was as well as how hard she worked for the movement for equality. If we look into what Hansberry was fighting for, we have to go to where it originated. “Slavery started in America in 1619”, this is when we have seen the abuse of African Americans through slavery (Slavery In America).
The definition of slavery according to the Oxford dictionary is a ’person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them’(Slave). The root of the evil, which is slavery, ’started in America in 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 African slaves ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia’(Slavery In America). When African Americans came to the United States, they were considered different. They were not citizens; they didn’t know English and lived in poverty. The idea that men and women with dark skin are not as equal to other skin colors comes from the most influential of evil. Many white people thought because they have a different skin tone from themselves believe that means we are not on an equal playing field. We as humans morally know it’s not right to treat African Americans like property, but it took till until January in 1863 for slavery to end in America (Slavery in America).
Going along with the fact that slavery was not okay; we know now that just because someone says something is wrong; it doesn’t mean it will instantly change everyone’s mind. In the play, we see this painted out because of a new form of slavery, known as segregation. Instead of being owned by a master, African Americans were enslaved to the rules of the bathrooms, water fountains and the back of the buses. In our story, some of the white people showed their racist ways by showing the Younger family they are still enslaved to them; This is by them not wanting them to live in their Neighborhood. In the cruel game of Segregation, there was a façade put up; making it seem like everything was equal. When in reality things were just as bad, making Segregation a different word for slavery. In particular in the mid-1900s; we see a greater stride to make justice happen. The African American race took the fight into their own hands; after not being heard about the fact that they are as equal as any other kind of people.
The actions they took came with great harmful risk; verbal abuse was the least of their worries (Woog 52). In one of the most famous forms of protesting, we see something called a Sit-In. A Sit-In was when many segregated restaurants wouldn’t let African Americans sit in their eatery or business (Greensboro Sit-In). In the example of a restaurant, many would walk in and sit there if they were not served. Staying at the restaurants would force the restaurant to provide the proper service, or it would slow down business, making restaurants lose money. Sadly this wouldn’t always work, many times ’ protesters had eggs thrown at them, hot coffee and milkshakes poured on their backs, as well as sugar and mustard dumped on their heads. Worst of all, they had cigarettes put out on their backs” (Woog 52). The crimes were not only rude, but they were harmful. To continue the push for equality we saw Freedom Rides. Freedom Rides were when white and black people would ride in public buses through the south, protesting Segregation (Freedom Riders).
The Freedom Rides met with brutal attacks from pro-segregation citizens. In a famous scenario, someone had thrown a bomb into a bus while protesters occupied the van. The crowd enclosed the bus forcing the riders to be locked within. Luckily a gas tank exploded causing the offenders to move back, letting the victims flee the bus (Woog 56). During the struggle for equality, we saw the true colors of some of the white population. The attacks showed that they would go to any length to not change their way of life. In A Raisin In The Sun specifically, we see a white community stuck in the past, not willing to change their mind to what is right. At the beginning of the play, we have three generations living in a home together. The family was given money from their Insurance provider after the grandfather had passed away. Mama, who is the Grandmother makes the judgment to buy a new house to get out of the rough part of town. Unfortunately for them, we see segregation has just started. Segregation was just another type of cruelty; this is because instead of the usual chains from slavery they were chained to the mockery of white citizens.
This injustice is shown in the play when a white man named Mr. Lindner comes to see the Younger family. While he is there, he tells them that the neighborhood will pay them not to live in the house (Hansberry 118). While you read this play, you see the true meaning behind his talk. That he believes that Black ’families would be happier when living in their communities’(Hansberry 91). Mr. Lindner says he is there for the Younger family, in reality, he as well as the neighborhood don’t want to change there way of life. In conclusion, Lorraine Hansberry was a gifted woman, being one of the first to stick up for herself as well as an entire race. Even though the road was not easy, we know Lorraine Hansberry fought till the end, spreading love as well as equality through A Raisin In The Sun. Also, America created a new form of slavery, making it into a cruel game with the American dream dangling in front of them, giving them the ideas that they could be equal. Still, Lorraine stood up for the African American race, making it know that she was going to be successful even when the odds were stacked against her.