What about Baraka’s revised position decades later that the play reflects the actual lives of black people more than any other work?

| February 24, 2014

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In 1986, following the 25th anniversary of A Raisin in the Sun, Amiri Baraka (who we will study closely in Week 9) wrote a “critical reevaluation” of Hansberry’s play. At the time Raisin was published and produced on Broadway, Baraka acknowledges that he and others who shared his revolutionary views criticized Hansberry’s play as being “‘middle class’ in that its focus seemed to be on ‘moving into white folks’ neighborhoods,’ when most blacks were just trying to pay their rent in ghetto shacks.”
Upon reevaluation over two decades later, Baraka argues that Raisin “typifies American society in a way that reflects more accurately the real lives of the black U.S. majority than any work that has ever received commercial exposure before it, and few if any since” and insists that “[t]here is no such thing as a ‘white folks’ neighborhood’ except to racists and to those submitting to racism.”
In at least 300 words, compose a response to Baraka’s statements:
Do you agree with his previous critique of Raisin as narrowly focused on “middle class” concerns and overlooking the plight of most African Americans just trying to make ends meet? Note: Baraka is not making an argument that the Youngers were, in fact, middle class. Rather, he was critiquing what he saw as their (and, by extension, the play’s) investment in middle-class aspirations.
What about Baraka’s revised position decades later that the play reflects the actual lives of black people more than any other work?
Finally, what do you make of his assessment of a “white folks’ neighborhood” as something that exists only in the minds of racists and those who are submitting to racism?
Be sure to meet all requirements as outlined on the Discussion Board Rubric. Remember to meet the length requirement and to incorporate evidence from the literature by including at least one direct quotation and MLA in-text citation from the play. NO SECONDARY SOURCES FROM THE INTERNET.
page to read,
Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (1771-1830)Danny Glover reads Langston Hughes’s “Harlem”
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Watch Video
Danny Glover reads Langston Hughes “Montage of a Dream…”
Duration: (0:40)
In this short clip, actor Danny Glover reads “Harlem,” the poem by Langston Hughes from which Hansberry took the name of her play.
A Raisin in the Sun: An Introduction
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A Raisin in the Sun: an Introduction
Duration: (22:51)
This clip includes a helpful orientation to the play, as well as germane details of Hansberry’s biography. Those interviewed include Phylicia Rashad, who starred as Mama in the 2004 Broadway revival. She won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play — the first time this prestigious award was won by an African American woman.
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