The Raisin [In the Sun] Cycle: Strength, Dignity, Humanity

raisin-photo-2.jpg__640x360_q85Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking 1959 drama, A Raisin in the Sun depicts the strength and humanity of an African-American family striving for a piece of the American dream by buying a house in a white working-class Chicago neighborhood. More than 50 years later, playwright Bruce Norris created Clybourne Park, a sardonic Pulitzer Prize-winning prequel and sequel that revisits the questions of race, real estate and gentrification in America.

Inspired by Hansberry’s original and Norris’ follow-up, Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of Baltimore’s Center Stage, penned a third play, Beneatha’s Place that follows two Raisin characters to Nigeria and its post-colonial struggles.  On Friday, October 25, at 9pm, WGBY airs a performance documentary that captures the history and legacy of Raisin and the backstage challenges of mounting two issue-driven plays simultaneously. To hear renowned playwright Kwame Kwei Armah reflect on his work, Beneatha’s Place, or to view images from Raisin Revisited, click here.

For other resources related to this powerful trilogy, you can go to PBS LearningMedia where you’ll find hundreds of resources on the struggles and successes of African Americans and other minorities in our country.  Here are just a few:

Aardvark Town:  (Grades 1-3) Join the Kratts Brothers Chris and Martin as they explore the digging expert of the African savannah, the aardvark. Viewers learn about aardvarks’ power to dig boroughs and break into termite mounds, the slurping power of their tongues, and the key role they play in nature

African/African-American Culture:  Anansi’s Rescue from the River:  (Grades 1-8) In this video, storyteller Nana Yaa Asantewaa performs this story from the Anansi tales, which are told by the Ashanti people of Ghana, West Africa, and have been passed down through the generations by oral tradition.

Malcolm X:  Regarding Whiteness (Grades 6-8) In this interview, taken from archival news footage, civil rights leader Malcolm X describes the impact of his 1964 pilgrimage to Mecca on his racial views.

Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympic Games:  (Grades 6-13+) This video from American Experience tells the story of Jesse Owens, whose four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics infuriated the Nazis and inspired African Americans struggling with racism at home in the United States.

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