A Raisin in the Sun has a special place in Broadway history. It was, among other things, the first Broadway play with a black director and one of the first plays about black life to attract a large white audience. Those who criticized Sydney Poitier for playing so many unthreatening Good Negroes sometimes cite his performance in Raisin as an example par excellence of the form; those same critics apparently forget that his first role on Broadway was in Lysistrata. One of Lorraine Hansberry’s great achievements in the play is that she transformed a rather tedious real-life family drama starring her real-estate broker father—the legal proceedings of Hansberry v. Lee, a case dealing with racial covenants in housing—into a work of involving drama, and one that has borne fruit in the form of...

 
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