One Book, One Chicago Spring 2003
As Mayor and on behalf of the City of Chicago, I invite you to participate in the fourth One Book, One Chicago program, presented by the Chicago Public Library. One Book, One Chicago encourages all our citizens to read the same book at the same time to create a citywide book club. This spring, we have selected A Raisin in the Sun by Chicagoan Lorraine Hansberry. We will discuss the book during a week of special events April 6–12, 2003, which is also National Library Week.
A Raisin in the Sun is a play about the hopes of a black Chicago family struggling to realize their dreams and maintain their dignity. It is a classic of the American theater and a work relevant to people of every race and ethnicity.
Since its inception in fall 2001, One Book, One Chicago has helped cultivate a culture of reading in Chicago by bringing our great city together around one great book. Reading great literature inspires us to think about ourselves, our environment and our relationships. Talking about great literature with friends, family and neighbors can add richness and depth to the experience of reading.
You can find a copy of A Raisin in the Sun at your neighborhood Chicago Public Library or at your local bookstore. Whether you read and discuss this book with friends, attend our scheduled events or use this resource guide to organize a book club of your own, I am sure you will find the experience to be enlightening and thought-provoking.
Thank you for participating in One Book, One Chicago.
Richard M. Daley, Mayor
City of Chicago
“I was born on the South Side of Chicago. I was born black and a female. I was born in a depression after one world war, and came into my adolescence during another. While I was still in my teens the first atom bombs were dropped on human beings at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and by the time I was 23 years old my government and that of the Soviet Union had entered actively into the worst conflict of nerves in human history—the Cold War.
I have lost friends and relatives through cancer, lynching and war. I have been personally the victim of physical attack, which was the offspring of racial and political hysteria…. I see daily on the streets of New York, street gangs and prostitutes and beggars. I have, like all of you, on a thousand occasions seen indescribable displays of man’s very real inhumanity to man; and I have come to maturity, as we all must, knowing that greed and malice and indifference to human misery, bigotry and corruption, brutality and, perhaps above all else, ignorance—the prime ancient and persistent enemy of man—abound in this world.
I say all of this to say that one cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know and react to the miseries which afflict this world.
I have given you this account so that you know that what I write is not based on the assumption of idyllic possibilities or innocent assessments of the true nature of life—but, rather, my own personal view that, posing one against the other, I think the human race does command its own destiny and that that destiny can eventually embrace the stars.”
—Lorraine Hansberry, in a speech delivered to African American writers a few days before the opening of A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway