18 May 2012
The Literature and Life of August Wilson
August Wilson was born as Fredrick August Wilson on April 27, 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father Fredrick August Kittel was a German immigrant baker who later abandoned his family. His mother Daisy Wilson was from North Carolina. August Wilson was one of six children by his mother who also was the youngest by 13 years. He grew up in a two-bedroom apartment with his mother and siblings. August Wilson was the only black child in his school so he was the target of fierce racism. As a teen Wilson mother married David Bedford. The family moved to Hazelwood, a white working class neighborhood. He “left school at the age of fifteen when his teacher refused to take his word that a twenty page paper on Napoleon was his own work” (Norton 2). Wilson and his family faced threats and racial hostility. In 1945 Wilson decided to become a writer and adopted his mother’s maiden name. August Wilson’s goals were “to concretize the black cultural response to the world to place that response in loud, action, so as to create a dramatic literatures as powerful and sustaining as black American music” (Norton 3). August Wilson was first a poet but later became a writer. Wilsons sensitivity to the problems of black America shows the influence of the black power movement of the late 1960’s, and he referred to himself as a black nationalist” (Taylor 1). After Wilson’s father death in the late sixties Malcolm X and the Blues influenced Wilson. The same year he purchased his first typewriter and began to write poetry. 1968 he founded the Black Horizons theatre company in Pittsburgh. Some of his poetry was published in black literary journals, such as Black World. Two trains running set focused on death and entitlements. In 1969 august Wilson converted to Islam to insure the survival of his marriage to Brenda Burton. Wilson began writing one act plays in the...