August Wilson Biography | Author of The Piano Lesson

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Wilson was born Frederick August Kittel in 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in a racially diverse working class neighborhood, the Hill, where he lived with his mother and five siblings. His mother, a single parent, worked as a domestic to support her six children. Her own mother, Wilson's grandmother, had walked from North Carolina to Pittsburgh in search of better opportunities. Wilson's mother remarried when he was still young, and the family moved to a white suburb. Wilson met persistent racism in the schools he attended there, and at fifteen he was frustrated enough by this prejudice to leave school and educate himself at the local library. There, he read "anything" he wanted to, and educated himself about the Afro-American literary tradition by reading works by Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Arna Bontemps, amongst others. Their example inspired him to write poetry and short fiction...

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This section contains 500 words
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The Piano Lesson from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.