In the famous 1959 "kitchen debate" with Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev, Richard Nixon asserted the American Dream of homeownership was available to all Americans regardless of class, race, or any other social constraint. For Nixon, this claim was proof of America's dominance over Russia-of democracy's superiority over communism. Nixon, however, greatly exaggerated the availability of homeownership; owning a home in the suburbs was not an option for all Americans, particularly African Americans. Government subsidies, which were so important in making homes affordable, were not extended to blacks. Furthermore, suburban communities around the country sought to keep their neighborhoods segregated by prohibiting blacks from buying homes through "restrictive covenants." William Levitt, whose Levittown communities symbolized postwar prosperity and the American Dream, would not sell homes to blacks until the government mandated him to integrate in the late 1950s. And the black families who were then successful in attaining a home in the suburbs risked constant threats and violence from their white neighbors who feared, among other issues, that their property values would decrease and their communities would decay. In her 1958 play A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry tackled these issues before they had fully exploded into the American conscience. Her play reveals the fears and restraints, which kept many blacks from achieving the 1950's American Dream.
The dominant theme in A Raisin in the Sun is the quest for home ownership. The play is about a black family living in the Southside of Chicago-a poverty-stricken, African Ame...
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