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Research Starter- August Wilson
A celebrated playwright, Wilson received critical acclaim for his ambitious cycle of works about African American life in the twentieth century. One of the few playwrights to win two Pulitzer Prizes, Wilson also was the first African American to have two plays running simultaneously on Broadway.
August Wilson in Black Literature Criticism
Widely regarded as one of the most notable African American playwrights of the twentieth century, Wilson is recognized for award-winning dramas that realistically portray the struggles of the black middle class in the United States. He reached a theatrical milestone in 2005 when he completed his ten-play cycle that depicts the history of the African American experience from the early 1900s to the late 1990s.
August Wilson in Critical Survey of Drama
Biography, critical information on plays, and a bibliography. Fences is included.
Research Starter- Fences
Troy Maxson, the protagonist of August Wilson’s Fences, is the son of a frustrated sharecropper whose harshness drove off his wives and Troy. Troy has made his way north to a world where African Americans live in shacks and are unable to find work. Troy takes to stealing, kills a man, and is sent to prison, where he learns how to play baseball, which he loves and at which he excels. Segregation confines Troy, after prison, to the Negro Leagues. He is angry at the racism that frustrates his attempt at achieving the American Dream in the most American of sports, but he remains resilient. Fences celebrates his indomitable spirit, while acknowledging his flaws.
Fences in Masterplots
Includes a summary of the plot, critical evaluation, and a bibliography.
Matriarchy Research Starter
In sociology and anthropology, a matriarchy is a social system in which women hold power. Women rule or lead as the head of a family, clan, tribe, or state. The head is called a matriarch. A matriarchy is an alternative to a patriarchy, in which men exercise authority.
Black and white American motherhood have always differed. Unlike white motherhood, black mothering has always existed in tandem with productive labor, and it has seldom been an isolated, individual undertaking. Where white motherhood has always been revered, black mothers have been maligned through the centuries.
August Wilson: The American Dream, in Black and White
In this incisive program, two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright August Wilson returns home to the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1990 to review his life and career.
Filmed on the set of Two Trains Running, one of America’s leading playwrights traces his work back to a troubled childhood in a Pittsburgh ghetto.
August Wilson: Writing the Blues
Everyone has to find his own song, says Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson, and he found his in the blues. From music and literature he has shaped a philosophy of life and some of the country’s most compelling dramas, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Fences.