Two-time Pulizer Prize winner American playwright August Wilson chronicled the African-American experience in the 20th century in a series of plays that will stand as a landmark in the history of black culture, of American literature and of Broadway theater.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1945, Wilson grew up in the penurious Bedford Avenue area of the City. Before he had become a successful writer, Wilson moved to St.Paul, and in 1994 he settled in Seattle, where he died at the age of 60.
Each of the plays in the cycle was set in a different decade of the 20th century, and all but Ma Rainey took place in the impoverished but vibrant African-American Hill District of Pittsburgh, where Wilson was born.
In his work, he depicted the struggle of black Americnas with uncommon lyrical richness, theatrical density and emotional heft, in plays that gave vivid voices to people on the frayed margins of life.
"I wanted to place this culture onstage in all its richness and fullness and to demonstrate its ability to sustain us in all area of human life and endeavor and through profound moments of our history in which the larger society has thought less of us than we have thought of ourselves."