Two Trains Running Historical Context

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African American Literary Culture before 1990

Mainstream drama in the United States changed significantly in the later part of the twentieth century, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s, to include more work by and about minorities. This was by no means a straightforward development, since there was continued opposition to theater, literature, and other arts that were seen as insufficiently American. Figures such as Wilson, however, widely increased the visibility and availability of theater that focused on the experience and traditions of cultural and racial groups that had long been sidelined or ignored.

When Wilson began writing drama in the 1970s, artists and intellectuals had been working for many years to focus less on a traditional canon of white drama and more on the unique history and culture of African Americans. Cultural figures, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin, were part of...

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This section contains 711 words
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