August Wilson was a gifted individual who sprouted from his talents to become a legacy of the playwright world. Although many would consider his childhood was a towering obstacle, he overcame that with his passion for the arts. By listening to what other people had to say about their lives, he used that knowledge to inspire him and write several well-known dramas, including Fences, one of his most famous works. He would later on influence the world that African Americans are capable of writing a piece that puts the audience and reader in awe.
Wilson, along with his siblings, was born and raised in a small flat in Pittsburgh by his mother, Daisy Wilson. As he got older, he was repeatedly harassed by his peers at school due to his race. While he was in his second high school, he had decided alone to drop out due to an argument he had with one of his professors. Although he had not been getting the education desired by the common parent, he had continued to pursue his interests in writing.
He continuously visited the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and enlightened himself in the world of language, culture and music. By earning some money of his own, he was able to require a typewriter, and soon become infatuated with poetry and drama. In the 1960’s, he had joined the Centre Avenue Poets Theater Workshop, a group of other people interested in the world of art. He had co-founded the Black Horizon Theater with fellow member, Rob Penny, and decided to create pieces that would create awareness of the African American life and what they have gone through as an attempt of the “American Dream” to the white public audience.
His works would soon expand to the attention of African American director, Lloyd Richards, the instructor that had led to Wilson’s debut in Broadway for his first six plays. The two men created their own presence on stage through their own material. There was controversy of using African American actors in their plays, but they still carried on with it to let it be known to the world of what their culture means to them. Together, they created a new proclamation on stage, symbolizing of what should be the equal rights of African Americans.
During Wilson’s experience in broadway, he accomplished many dramas with his artistic talents, including The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, and quite a few more. He is also remembered by unique idea in writing a drama once every decade during the 1900s. Most of them are set in Plattsburgh, the city of his childhood that inspired his works. While he was still alive, he also received many awards for his works. These include the Tony Award for Best Play for Fences, a National Humanities Medal, and a number of New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards.
The Carnegie Library, the place in which he enhanced his reading and writing talent, also gave out it’s first and only honorary degree to him. Although Wilson received several awards for his achievements as a playwright, it is his legacy that set history for the perspective on African American culture. His plays were one of the triggers for establishing a symbol of what their aspects of life meant to the world. The works describe a life of frustration, poverty, racism and being restrained from your passions because of what the world expects from them. It is clear throughout his writings that the events occuring are the reflections of his experiences, troubles and anger being in a white dominated school district.
However, he overcame those troubled times, and pursued his dreams of becoming a playwright, even after he had dropped out of high school. By not giving up, chasing after his passion, and becoming a symbol for African American rights, he gained the respect of over thousands of people through the voice of his works. Children of the same race began racing towards their dream with hope, in a world in which it was once categorized as “miraculous” if they succeeded in getting close to achievement at all. August Wilson therefore became a living legacy with his voice through his own art that he created for others.