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Another mighty oak has fallen, but the shaft of sunlight left in its wake continues to nourish the many acorns scattered about its roots. Much like that mighty oak, August Wilson’s death in October 2005, leaves a glaring space among the few truly great writers, artists, intellectuals and visionaries of our time. This prophet, poet, and cultural historian who boldly redefined the American Theatre canon in ten plays written in the span of 25 years has bequeathed us a legacy of works that promises to inspire rich and meaningful conversations that cross disciplines and generations as well as economic, racial, and gender divides. According to the late playwright: “by writing about black people, you are not limiting yourself. The experiences of African Americans are as wide open as God’s closet.”

The August Wilson Society (AWS) was established at Howard University in spring 2006 to develop multiple ways of sustaining and passing along August Wilson’s legacy. Just as each of the ten stories August Wilson tells in his ten-play cycle weaves together recognizable aspects of African American culture, so too are they informed by multiple disciplines: music, art, folklore, history, religion, etc. This fundamental mission is reflected in the interdisciplinary scope of The August Wilson Society’s charter membership as well as in projects already slated to delve more deeply into the largely untapped interdisciplinary spectrum of his work.

The August Wilson Society invites you, too, to join its effort to explore God’s wide-open closet. Help us discover the untold gifts and inspiring genius of August Wilson.

Sandra G. Shannon,
August Wilson Society
Founder and President

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