Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson, a high-school dropout who told stories of the African-American struggle during the 20th century in such acclaimed works as Fences and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, died Oct. 2 at the age of 60. The New York Daily News reported that Wilson died at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, Wash., from liver cancer, just five weeks after announcing he was fighting a losing battle against the disease.
His biggest achievement was chronicling the Black experience in America, in a series of 10 plays, one set in each decade of the 20th century. The series included Fences, about an ex-baseball player foiled by segregation who forbids his son from accepting an athletic scholarship. The play won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and a Tony award for best play. He won a second Pulitzer in 1990 for The Piano Lesson, a play about a dispute that erupts between two siblings over whether to sell a family heirloom in order to buy land.
Another one of Wilson's highly acclaimed works was Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, which was set in 1927 and told of the exploitation of a group of blues musicians.