A Dream Deferred…

Harlem

BY LANGSTON HUGHES

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes wrote “Harlem” in 1951, and this poem was the inspiration for the title of Lorraine Hansberry’s ground-breaking play, “A Raisin in the Sun”, first produced on stage in 1959. The poem and the play address a common theme; the struggle of African-Americans to reach economic parity in the US.

Our StreetLeaders all read the play over the summer. A couple of the students have even participated in stage productions. As we talked about, and planned for, our annual StreetLeader Black History Month Event, we came up with the idea of using the play as our teaching tool.

Elyse Smith, our StreetLeader Director created this event four years ago, mainly as a way to teach the younger kids and the teens, about the history of  Black Americans which encompasses events and information  not often taught in elementary school or, even high school.


Using the model of  a “wax museum”, where characters speak and share information, we have tackled the Harlem Renaissance, Black Wall Street and The Freedom Riders. This year, we are going a step beyond to offer scenes from the play, “A Raisin in the Sun” with historical narrative between the scenes.

The teens will work on this throughout the months of January and February. Some teens will act, some teens will be the stage crew and still other teens will research history and create narratives to be read between scenes. Our Junior StreetLeaders will also participate. We are pretty excited!

The Black History Month Event will take place on February 28 at 4pm and 7pm. We have not decided on our venue (we have a couple of options) but we will post that information soon.

Tickets for adults 18 and older are $15,  youth ages 14-17 just $5, and kids 13 and younger are free. This is a fundraiser to underwrite the cost of a social/cultural outing for the StreetLeaders. We will let you know more about that as we finalize those plans. Tickets will go on sale February 1, 2019.

Save the date- we are sure you will be surprised by what you learn from our StreetLeaders.