When it was first produced in 1959, A Raisin in the Sun was awarded the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and hailed as a watershed in American drama. Not only was it a pioneering work by an African-American playwright-Lorraine Hansberry's play was also a radically new representation of black life, one that was resolutely authentic, fiercely unsentimental, and unflinching in its vision of what happens to people whose dreams are constantly deferred. In her portrait of an embattled Chicago family, Hansberry anticipated issues that range from generational clashes to the civil rights and women's movements. She also posed the essential questions-about identity, justice, and moral responsibility-at the heart of these great struggles. The result is a work that captivated audiences from every walk of life and has become a classic of American letters.