Lorraine Hansberry was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1930. She met many influential African Americans during her childhood. In 1938 Hansberrys family moved to an all white neighborhood to challenge Chicagos segregation laws. Hansberry attendded the University of Wisconsin and then moved to New York City in 1950. She becamea reporter and editor for Freedom, a progressive black newspaper from 1959 to 1953. A Raisin in the Sun was the first Broadway play produced by a black woman.
It won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1959. After her death in 1965 from cancer, her husband Robert Nemiroff adapted her letters, plays and parers into productions. A Raisin in the Sun shows a few weeks in the life of the Youngers, an African American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s.
In the beginning, The Youngers are about to recieve an insurance check for $10,000. This money comes from the deceased Mr. Youngers life insurance policy. Each of the adult members of the family has an idea as to what he or she would like to do with this money. The head of the family, Mama wants to buy a house to fulfill a dream she shared with her husband. Mamas son, Walter Lee, would rather use the money to invest in a liqour store with his friends.
He believes that the investment will solve the familys financial problems forever. Walters wife, Ruth, agrees with Mama, and hopes that she and Walter can provide more space and opportunity for their son, Travis. Finally, Beneatha, Walters sister and Mamas daughter, wants to use the money for her medical school tuition. She also that her family members were not so interested in joining the white world.
Beneatha insteaf tries to find her identity by looking back to the past and to Africa. As the play progresses, the Youngers fight over each others dreams. Ruth discovers that she is pregnant but fears that if she has the child, she will put more financial pressure on her family members. Then Ruth considers getting an abortion, Mama puts a down payment on a house for the whole family. She believes that a bigger house will help them all.
This house is in Cynbourne Park, an entirely white neighborhood. When the Youngers futureneighbors find out that the Youngers are moving in, they send Mr. Linder, from the Clynbourne Improvement Association , to offer the Youngers money in return for staying away. The Youngers refuse the deal, even after Walter loses the rest of the money, $6,500 to his friend Willy Harris, who persuades Walter to invest in the liquor store and then runs off with his cash.
Beneatha recieves a marriage proposal from her Nigerian boyfriend, Joseph Asagai, who wants Beneatha to get a medical degree and move to Africa with him. The Youngers eventually move out of the apartment, fulfilling the familys long-held dream. Their future seems uncertain but they are determined to live a better life.
They believe that they can succeed if they stick together as a family.