Agugust Wilson: The Man Behind The Plays


Manage episode 271923584 series 2093512
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On April 27, 1945, Frederick August Kettel, Jr. was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents Frederick August Kettel, Sr. and Daisy Wilson. His father was a German immigrant who worked as a baker, his mother was a black woman from North Carolina who was a domestic worker. August was the fourth of six children who were raised mainly by their mother in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. In the late 1950s, Daisy Wilson remarried a man named David Bedford, the family then moved from the predominantly black Hill District to the predominantly white Hazelwood neighborhood. Being biracial in the Jim Crow era was difficult for August, he was often harassed in his neighborhood and at school because of his complexion, finding a space where he felt he belonged did prove to be difficult. 1959 was also August’s first year of high school. He was one of fourteen black children attending Central Catholic High School, unfortunately, he faced racist acts so often it drove him to drop out of school. He later enrolled in Connelley Vocational High School but again dropped out because he wasn’t learning anything. August had a thirst for knowledge but the educational institutions he attended were not adequate to intellectually stimulate him. He gave receiving a formal education one last try before dropping out again after he was accused of plagiarising a paper he wrote about France’s Napoleon I. His teacher was not smart enough to realize she had a literary genius in her presence.
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