American Masters

  • The Piano Lesson

    The Piano Lesson, the 1930s-era drama from August Wilson’s century cycle is discussed in this video from August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand.  The video features commentary on the ways in which The Piano Lesson reflects the African American experience.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Fences

    In this video from August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand scholars discuss Fences, the Tony Award-winning drama about a former Negro League baseball player and his family.  The video features performances of two scenes from the play along with critical commentary.

    Grades: 9-12
  • August Wilson and the Blues

    In this video from August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand the playwright discusses the influence that the blues has had on his writing.  The clip also features a performance from Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and commentary from several theater scholars. 

    Grades: 9-12
  • August Wilson and the Black Arts Movement

    This video from August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand examines the influence of the Black Arts Movement on the writing of the renowned playwright.  Wilson came of age during the Black Power and Black Arts Movements and was greatly influenced by their political, ethical and aesthetic ideas.  The clip features interviews with Wilson himself, Civil Rights activist Sala Udin, and fellow playwright Rob Penny.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Writing from Art: August Wilson and Romare Bearden

    This video from August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand introduces the play Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, which was inspired by the painting “Mill Hand’s Lunch Bucket” by Romare Bearden.  In the support materials students analyze Bearden’s work and explore ekphrasis—writing from art. 

    Grades: 6-12
  • August Wilson on Writing

    In this video from August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, Wilson and others discuss his unique writing process.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The August Wilson Education Project

    The WQED August Wilson Education Project offers resources to educators including a teaching guide, video clips from the documentary, interactive maps, a biographical timeline, webinars, contests for students, and much more.

    Grades: 6-12

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