A Raisin in the Sun (Integrative Reflective Essay) February 12, 2010
Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965) was an innovative pioneer who broke down many barriers in her short life. The youngest of four children, she was born in Chicago, IL to Carl and Nannie Perry Hansberry. Her parents were well educated social and political activists who exposed their children to Afro centric ideology throughout their lives. Her father, a successful real estate developer and entrepreneur; is credited with introducing the kitchenette and studio apartment concepts. As a result, Lorraine grew up in an upper middle class atmosphere even so she identified strongly with the poor children she observed. When Lorraine was eight years old her father purchased a home in an exclusive “whites only” Chicago neighborhood and moved his family in. They were greeted with intense hostility from their neighbors; Lorraine was almost killed when someone threw a brick through a window just narrowly missing her. The local courts evicted the Hansberrys citing restrictive covenant violations. They fought back challenging the local court’s ruling all the way to the Supreme Court ending with a landmark decision which eventually led to the restrictive covenants being repealed (Hansberry v Lee, 1940). Carl Augustus Hansberry died at the age of 51 of a cerebral hemorrhage. A Raisin in the Sun focuses on a poor black family living in a Southside Chicago ghetto over several weeks in the 1950s. The Younger family consists of Mama (the matriarch); her son Walter; Ruth Walter’s wife; their son Travis and Beneatha (Mama’s daughter and Walter’s sister). The storyline involves a $10,000 life insurance check from the death of Mr. Younger (Mama’s husband). Everyone has their own thoughts as to how the money should be disbursed resulting in several dramatic clashes over competing ideas. Mama wants to buy a house and get
her family out of the ghetto; Walter wants to use the money to invest...
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