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Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun premiered on the Broadway stage in January 1959 just as the edifice of national segregation was cracking open. Response to the momentous 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Bd. of Education included both the important early challenges to long-accepted practices of white supremacy and the intensified mobilization of widespread white defiance to the ruling. Black Bus boycotters in Montgomery, Alabama, and their young minister leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Black high school students attempting to attend Little Rock’s Central High and their families faced organized harassment and dangerous forms of assault. The play’s immediate success then and since has made it one of the most well-known and frequently produced dramas of the twentieth century.


Commissioned by the Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project as supplemental materials to accompany the 2018 PBS/American Experience broadcast of Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart: Lorraine Hansberry.



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