A Raisin in the Sun
Starletta DuPois, Glynn Turman and Elizabeth Van Dyke appeared in a 1979 New Federal Theatre production of A Raisin in the Sun. Two decades earlier, following previews in New Haven, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, Lorraine Hansberry's ground-breaking drama about segregation opened in New York on March 11, 1959 to critical acclaim. The production won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play of the year. A Raisin in the Sun was the first Broadway play to be written by an African American woman. At the juncture between the quiet protest dramas of the 1940s and 1950s and the more militant plays of the 1960s, the production captured the attention -- and the sympathy -- of American audiences with its prophetic vision of a society about to change, perhaps forever, for women and blacks.
Writer and playwright Hansberry once said, "I suppose I think that the highest gift that man has is art and I am audacious enough to think of myself as an artist -- that there is both joy and beauty and illumination and communication between people to be achieved through the dissection of personality. That's what I want to do. I want to reach a little closer to the world...and see if we can share some illuminations together about each other."
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