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African-American Playwrights

Playwright August Wilson once said, "For me, the original play becomes an historical document: This is where I was when I wrote it, and I have to move on now to something else." 

African-American dramatists have often used theatrical productions to explore themes such as alienation, rage, sexism, classism, racism and a desire to assimilate into American culture. 

 As one of the leading writers in the, Baraka"s plays include The Toilet, Baptism and Dutchman. According to The Back Stage Theatre Guide, more African-American plays have been written and staged since the premier of Dutchman in 1964 than in the previous 130 years of African-American theater history. Other plays include What Was the Relationship of the Lone Ranger to the Means of Production? and  Money, produced in 1982.

August Wilson has been one of the only African-American playwrights to have consistent success Broadway. Wilson has written a series of plays that are set in specific decades throughout the 20th century. These plays include Jitney, Fences, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, as well as Two Trains Running. Wilson has won the Pulitzer Prize twice--for Fences and The Piano Lesson.

 In 1975 Shange wrote-- for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. The play explored themes such as racism, sexism, domestic violence and rape. Considered Shange " greatest theatrical success, it has been adapted for television and film. Shange continues to explore feminism and African-American womanhood in plays such as okra to greens and Savannahland.

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