Newly Relevant

Black America’s First Mortgage Crisis

Around Christmas time, commentators discovered that Miracle on 34th St. was a film, in part, about subprime lending. Now, upon revisiting Lorraine Hansberry’s classic play, A Raisin in the Sun, Henry Louis Gates Jr. discovers that it too resonates newly with our present crisis. “A Raisin in the Sun, which opened on March 11, 1959, is about deferred gratification, its merits and its necessity if black America is ever going to catch up economically to the rest of the country and take our rightful place in the larger American middle class. Why talk about an old play in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Depression? Because this is precisely the time for us to do some very hard thinking about how the downturn is going to reshape the class structure of black America, and what we—within the race—can do about it. And Raisin holds clues.”