My two high schoolers and I went to see a performance of A Raisin in the Sun at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts this past Thursday. There were also about 500 rather rowdy Denver Public School kids there, who insisted on hooting and hollering every time the house lights went down. Fortunately, they were better behaved when the lights went up and the actors were on stage.
I had never seen the play or the movie before, so I was going into it cold. But let me tell you, I'm so happy I went. It's not my normal choice of theatre; I prefer a musical or a comedy or Shakespeare...but this was a serious drama of racial tensions in the 1950's in Chicago's southside, but I found that it spoke to me on several other levels.
This is truly a timeless story. There is a scene where Walter Lee Younger, who is drunk, is going on and on about his "dreams" and how no one understands him, while his mother is trying to get him to listen to his wife who is trying to tell him that she is unexpectedly pregnant. Money is tight and this family is already stressed, and all his wife needs to hear from her husband is that he loves her and he will help her deal with this pregnancy. She gets no reassurance from him because he is so caught up in his own self seeking. She has already given the abortionist a down payment, perhaps knowing how her husband would respond.
The grandmother (Walter's mother) tells him to "be a man" like his father was and not let his "child be destroyed." She told him that they are a people who loves their children and not a people who destroy their children.
I couldn't help but think about the current state of the black family in America, where their abortion rate is 5 times greater than whites. Additionally, 80% of African American children are born to fatherless homes. If you want to make sure a child grows up in poverty and is at greater risk for violent crime and other social ills, then take the father out of the home.
I won't tell you how this story ends, but it is well worth watching. The classic movie version stars Sidney Poitier as Walter Lee Younger.