Historical Context of A Raisin in the Sun

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A Raisin in the Sun is a drama that chronologically details the life experiences of the Younger family as they struggle with self identity, poverty, and segregation. Now, to fully understand the meaning behind the story, some background will be provided on the author, Lorraine Hansberry. At a young age, Lorraine Hansberry and her family were approached by a mob at their home.

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They were being told that they were no longer welcome in that neighborhood, as the white neighborhood improvement association did not see them fit. They were then told that if they did not leave, they would remain in violation of the race restrictive covenant. The Hansberry family later took this matter to the Supreme Court in 1940 where the court ruled in their favor. However, the issue of the covenants being unconstitutional was not resolved until a later case of Shelly v. Kramer in 1948. The unraveling of these events were what sparked Hansberry to begin writing A Raisin in the Sun.

The storyline of A Raisin in the Sun brought about many debatably sensitive topics. The most prevalent topic throughout the story would be the overarching theme of segregation. The play was set in the 1950’s, a time during which there was a fight between assimilation and integration. The setting of Chicago did not have official segregation as the South did, but rather a social and economic division between whites and African-Americans. At the time, segregation was very prevalent in the South. Another controversial topic that arises within the story is that of abortion. The character Ruth in the story discusses possibly having an abortion,

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