01august wilson

August Wilson

  • Birthdate

    Frederick August Kittel Jr. best known as August Wilson was born April, 27, 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to parents Daisy Wilson and Frederick August Kittel.
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    Living Status When Born

    August Wilson lived in a two-bed room apartment along his five siblings and his mother on the second floor of a red-brick building on Bedford Avenue in the Hill District.
  • Apartment

    This is the apartment in which August Wilson lived in, and is now found to be a cultural art center in honor of his legacy that you can visit.
  • Things To Know Before Introducing Him

    August Wilsons mother, Daisy Wilson, was African American and his father, Frederick was a white German immigrant. August recalls his father as a violent man, and his mother as hardworking women who worked as a cleaning lady to help support their family.
  • Family

    August Wilson had five siblings, and were mainly raised by their mother, Daisy Wilson, due to a divorce. Daisy Wilson then moved her children later to a nearby working-class neighborhood of Hazelwood where she met David Bedford, a black man who she remarried in 1958.
  • Education Growing Up

    Education Growing Up
    Wilson attended St. Richard’s Parochial School and then went to Central Catholic High School in 1959 where Wilson faced a lot of race-based bullying and harassment , which forced him to transfer to two other high schools during his freshman year.
  • More Education

    More Education
    Wilson who ends up at Gladstone High School, at just 15, drops out after being accused by his teacher of plagiarizing a paper on Napoleon.
  • Army

    In 1962, August Wilson enlisted in the U.S Army for three years, but left after only one year of service, and started working other jobs to support himself.
  • His First Typewriter

    His First Typewriter
    In 1965, Wilson purchased his first typewriter for $20, using money paid to him by his sister for writing a term paper for her and during this time is when Wilson began to write poetry.
  • Change in Name

    Also in 1965, Frederick August Kittel changes his name to August Wilson to honor his mother.
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    Black Horizon Theater

    Wilson joined a group of poets, educators, and artists who formed the Centre Avenue Poets Theater Workshop. Wilson then met Rob Penny, through this group, and in 1968, they co-founded the Black Horizon Theater, a community-based, Black Nationalist Theater Company in the Hill District of Pittsburgh.
  • First Marriage

    In 1969, August Wilson marries Brenda Burton.
  • First Daughter

    First Daughter
    In 1970, Wilson and Brenda's have their first daughter Sakina Ansari Wilson.
  • 1st Divorce

    August Wilson and Brenda Burton divorced in 1972 for unknown reasons.
  • Western Musical Play

    Western Musical Play
    Wilson writes a western musical play, Black Bart and the Sacred Hills in 1977.
  • Moving to Minnesota

    Moving to Minnesota
    In 1978, Wilson moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he concentrated more on playwriting, became a company member of the Penumbra Theatre, and got hired as a writer for the St. Paul Science Museum.
  • Century Cycle or Pittsburgh Cycle

    Century Cycle or Pittsburgh Cycle
    August Wilson's Century Cycle or the Pittsburgh Cycle is 10 plays that document the struggles and hopes of African Americans and it each play is set in a different decade of the 20th century
  • Jitney

    In 1979, August Wilson wrote "Jitney" which was considered his first real written play.
  • Fellowship

    The Minneapolis Playwrights Center granted August Wilson a fellowship.
  • Second Marriage

    In 1981, August Wilson marries Judy Oliver.
  • Lloyd Richards

    Lloyd Richards
    In 1982, August Wilson met Lloyd Richards an African-American director who served as the dean of the Yale University School of Drama and the artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre. They built a friendship that resulted in Richards’ directing Wilson’s first six Broadway plays.
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

    Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
    Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a play about the legendary blues singer, was accepted by the National Playwrights Conference at the O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut.
  • Daisy Wilson Dies

    August Wilson's mother, Daisy, dies.
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom pt2

    Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre and quickly moved to Broadway and won August his first New York Drama Critics Circle award.
  • Fences Premieres at Yale Repertory

    Fences Premieres at Yale Repertory
    Fences, the story of a frustrated former Negro League baseball player, premieres at Yale Repertory.
  • Joe Turner's Come and Gone

    Joe Turner's Come and Gone
    Joe Turner’s Come and Gone premieres at the Yale Repertory Theatre.
  • Fences

    In 1987, Fences opens on Broadway and won his second New York Drama Critics Circle Award and his first Pulitzer Prize.
  • Joe Turner's Come and Gone Pt2

    Joe Turner's Come and Gone Pt2
    August Wilson adds a second production running on Broadway when Joe Turner’s Come and Gone opens and it wins the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.
  • The Piano Lesson

    The Piano Lesson
    The Piano Lesson was written by Wilson as way to question how African Americans should confront the painful past of slavery and discrimination that still lingers over a century after the Civil War ended and it premiered at Yale Repertory in 1989.
  • Pittsburgher Of The Year

    Pittsburgher Of The Year
    August Wilson is named Pittsburgher of the Year by Pittsburgh Magazine in his hometown.
  • The Piano Lesson Pt2

    The Piano Lesson opens on Broadway and wins Wilson his fourth New York Drama Critics Circle Award and his second Pulitzer Prize.
  • 2nd Divorce and Moving to Seattle

    2nd Divorce and Moving to Seattle
    Wilson’s second marriage with Judy Oliver ends and makes the move to Seattle, Washington in 1990.
  • Two Trains Running

    Two Trains Running
    Two Trains Running opens on Broadway and wins the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best American play.
  • Teleplay of The Piano Lesson

    Teleplay of The Piano Lesson
    Hallmark Hall of Fame produces a teleplay of The Piano Lesson.
  • Third Marriage

    Third Marriage
    In 1994, August Wilson married Constanza Romero who he had met back in 1987, when she was a design student at the Yale School of Drama and was tapped to do costume design for Wilson's play, The Piano Lesson.
  • The Piano Lesson And Seven Guitars

    The Piano Lesson is broadcast on national television in 1995 and Seven Guitars premieres that same year.
  • "The Ground on Which I Stand"

    "The Ground on Which I Stand"
    In 1996, August Wilson writes "The Ground on Which I Stand" which was a personal call for African American artists to seize the power over their own cultural identity.
  • Seven Guitars on Broadway

    Seven Guitars on Broadway
    Seven Guitars reaches Broadway and August is awarded his sixth New York Drama Critics Circle Award.
  • Second Daughter

    Second Daughter
    In 1997, August Wilson and Constanza's daughter, Azula Carmen Wilson was born.
  • Teaching Playwrighting

    Teaching Playwrighting
    August Wilson goes on to teach playwrighting at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
  • High School Diploma

    Wilson often used the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to study the works of Black writers like Langston Hughes, the Carnegie Library gave Wilson an honorary high school diploma because of his extensive use of the library's collection.
  • Jitney produced

    Jitney produced
    Jitney is produced in New York, which is Wilson’s first play to be staged in an off-Broadway theatre and is awarded his seventh New York Drama Critics Circle Award.
  • King Hedley ll

    King Hedley ll
    King Hedley II opens on Broadway.
  • Gems of the Ocean

    Gems of the Ocean
    Gems of the Ocean premieres in Chicago.
  • Whoopi Goldberg

    Whoopi Goldberg
    Whoopi Goldberg appears on Broadway in a revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
  • Gem of the Ocean on Broadway

    Gem of the Ocean on Broadway
    Gem of the Ocean opens on Broadway.
  • Health & Death

    Health & Death
    In June of 2005, August Wilson is diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and died October of that same year at just 60 years old.
  • Radio Golf

    Radio Golf
    August Wilsons last play in the Century Cycle, Radio Golf, is premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre.
  • In his honor

    In his honor
    In 2005 the Virginia Theatre on Broadway is renamed the “August Wilson Theatre,” in his honor.
  • August Wilson's Century Cycle in Chronological Order

    Gem of the Ocean- 1900's
    Joe Turners Come & Gone- 1910's
    Ma Rainey's Black Bottom- 1920's
    The Piano Lesson- 1930's
    Seven Guitars- 1940's
    Fences- 1950's
    Two Trains Running- 1960's
    Jitney- 1970's
    King Hedley II- 1980's
    Radio Golf- 1990's