A Raisin in the Sun
How we cite our quotes:
Son – I come from five generations of people who was slaves and sharecroppers – but ain’t nobody in my family never let nobody pay ‘em no money that was a way of telling us we wasn’t fit to walk the earth. We ain’t never been that poor. (Raising her eyes and looking at him) We ain’t never been that – dead inside. (3.1.97)
Lena tells her son that they come from a family of proud people. In her mind, taking money from Lindner would make them worse than slaves. At least during slavery, they didn't have a choice. If Walter takes the money and submits to racism willingly, she feels her family will really have lost its soul.
WALTER (A beat; staring at [Karl])
And my father – (With sudden intensity) My father almost beat a man to death once because this man called him a bad name or something, you know what I mean? (3.1.127)
Big Walter, Walter's namesake and role model, refused to accept racist treatment. Hansberry suggests that having pride means being able to stand up for oneself. If Walter gives in to Lindner, he will shame the memory of his father.
This is my son, and he makes the sixth generation our family in this country. And we have all thought about your offer –
And we have decided to move into our house because my father – my father – he earned it for us brick by brick. (3.1.131-3)
Walter turns down the Clybourne Park Association's offer only after he remembers the roots his family has in America, and the rights that they deserve. He wants to set a strong example for his son, Travis, just like his father did for him.