August Wilson’s 20th Century

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Re-Visioning Tomorrow: Emancipation for a New Century is a companion program, a series of six public forums exploring themes that Wilson addresses, which still matter today. The sixth forum, scheduled at Boston Center for the Arts on January 13, is not drawn not from Wilson’s work, but from his life. When he was fifteen, Wilson left school after a teacher accused him of turning in a paper he had not written. It was too good, she felt, and a boy of his background was incapable of excellence. August Wilson left the classroom and went to the library. He would educate himself, and he was consistent in his devotion to learning. Not all the young men and women who are discounted because of complexion and circumstance are incapable of achievement. The education conundrum has not yet been solved, but it is key in Boston history. In the abolition era, for which Boston is well-known, a once captive community fought to extend educational rights and then in the 1970s, the schools in Boston were again at the center of the fray in the busing era. What educational legacy will Boston claim for the future?


Written for The Public Humanist, a blog by Mass Humanities.