A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun Housing Discrimination

Hansberry's play is timeless because she is able to make contemporary political issues part of the very art of the stage, drawing her audience into a conversation that continues to be relevant even today. The appearance of Mr. Lindner on stage is the physical manifestation of the housing controversy that has been a menacing presence throughout the play. Housing has various implications not only for health, but also for education. Although the burden fell most heavily upon African-Americans, they were not the only ethnic group affected by housing discrimination during this era. Restrictive covenants also prohibited Italians, Asians, and Jews from residing in certain areas. The Housing Act of 1949 had only been in place for ten years when the play hit the stage, but the majority of African Americans were still living in poverty. The law suggests that integrated neighborhoods will benefit from improved health and living standards, as well as from the growth and advancement of under-served communities. However, several practices continued even after the passing of the act that made integration difficult. Real estate agents would sell houses at an inflated cost after having coerced the white owners into selling at a loss because of the threat of integration. Rental agencies would delay appointments with African-Americans in hopes that a white customer would rent first. The Fair Housing Policy of 1968 attempted to address the problem by forbidding these deceptive practices. Even today, housing continues to be issue, particularly given how it affects education. Schools are still funded through property taxes in most area, and children have the option of attending alternate schools through busing or school vouchers to private institutions.