August Wilson Part 8 of 15 Black Authors
Frederick August Kittel, Jr. A.K.A. August Wilson was born on April 27, 1945, and is one of the greatest playwrights to ever live. Born in Pittsburg, PA, Wilson uses his childhood neighborhood as a backdrop for nine of the ten plays that he wrote.
Wilson wrote a play depicting the intricacies of Black Lives and why they matter, and how they have evolved over the last century. Wilson is, in fact, the best playwright of the 20th Century.
Growing up mixed-race, Wilson quickly learned that he would be seen by the world as a Black man, and being a Black man; he needed to identify with the problems, solutions, and efforts of the Black community.
Wilson would go on to win several awards, including the Tony Award for Best Play for Fences.
Denzel Washington has gained the rights to Wilson’s plays and will turn them all into major motion pictures. The first one will be Fences, which Washington starred in on Broadway. Washington will both star in and direct the film. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the second play to be turned into a film by Washington and stars the late great Chadwick Boseman and is streaming on Netflix.
To say that August Wilson was one of the greatest playwrights to do the work is an understatement. Wilson’s ability to masterfully outline each decade with strong characters and an even stronger storyline was brilliant.
Although Wilson was writing plays long before 1972, he is considered part of the postmodernism movement as it relates to literature.
August Wilson Plays in Historical Order
1904-Gem of the Ocean
1911-Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
1936-The Piano Lesson
1969-Two Trains Running
1985-King Hedley II
1997 Radio Golf
If you have never heard of August Wilson, or if you are not sure why his works are significantly important, then it is time that you find out.
Not only was Wilson primarily a self-taught playwright, but he was influenced by some of the greatest artistic minds of our time up to and including Romare Bearden, who inspired Wilson’s play Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.
Wilson takes us on a journey through the Middle Passage, the Northern Migration, the Civil Rights Movement, and right on through Sports discrimination and City Politics. Wilson was ahead of his time, not to mention miles ahead of his art.
On October 2, 2005, the literary world was changed forever. August Wilson died of stomach cancer at the age of 60. Wilson left for us a cycle of truth, raw emotion, and pure genius in his plays.
References: Fences Official Trailer #1 (2016) Denzel Washington, Viola Davis Drama Movie HD. (2016, September 27). Retrieved December 31, 2020, from https://youtu.be/jj-ZYPVRQbc
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