A Raisin in the Sun, in broadest terms, is a drama (as contrasted with a comedy). It can also be considered within several related variants of drama. These are realist drama and Modern American Realism, specifically African American Realism.
Realism, established as a strong theatrical current in the late nineteenth century, takes as its subject contemporary social problems. It also generally expresses them in media that aim for verisimilitude, the approximation of reality.
Modern American Realist drama, developed in the early to mid-twentieth century, continues in the realist tradition but expressly focuses on US social issues. In the post–World War II era, this genre is most closely associated with Arthur Miller.
African American Realism in literature is associated with Richard Wright, among others. His novel Native Son was adapted for the stage. Many plays about Black life that were staged on Broadway, however, were written by white playwrights.
A Raisin in the Sun is widely considered the pioneering work in African American Realist drama.