August Wilson

From ArticleWorld

August Wilson was an American playwright. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his work. He died on October 2, 2005 and what he left behind is ten plays, each showing the African-American experience through varies decades.


August Wilson grew up fourth of six children. He was brought into this world on April 27, 1945 and with the name Frederick August Kittel. His father was a white German baker and his mother an African-American who cleaned for a living. Wilson’s mother eventually divorced his father. His mother eventually remarried a man name David Bedford, and the family relocated from a fairly poor mixed race neighborhood to a mostly all-white neighborhood in Hazelwood, Pittsburgh. It was the late 1950’s and unfortunately the Wilson (Bedford) family encounter racism. As a result, Wilson dropped out of 10th grade in 1960 because a teacher accused him of cheating. After that, Wilson read everything he could at the Carnegie Library, basically becoming a self-educated man and because of this the Library awarded him a degree.


Rob Penny, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, along with Wilson helped found the Black Horizon Theater in 1968. For the theater Wilson directed and wrote plays. Wilson ten plays consisted of: Gem of the Ocean set in the 1900’s, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone set in the 1910’s, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom' set in the 1920’s, The Piano Lesson set in the 1930’s and the play won Wilson a Pulitzer Prize, Seven Guitars set in the 1940’s, Fences set in the 1950’s and won Wilson another Pulitzer Prize, Two Trains Running set in the 1960’s, Jitney set in the 1970’s, King Hedley II set in the 1980’s, and Radio Golf set in the 1990’s.