Playwright August Wilson, 1945-2005, explored African American culture and the black experience through his writing. Wilson plays have been showcased in regional theater, on Broadway, and in Hollywood. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Wilson wrote stories and published poetry in black journals during the 1960's. His well know works include Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Fences both from 1985. Wilson received many fellowships, awards, and honorary degrees between 1980 - 1990. Fences won both a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Awards.
Playwright, novelist, poet, and composer Langston Hughes, (1902-1967), hails from Joplin, Missouri. Hughes' eloquent prose is considered some of the very best work of any writer in the first half of the twentieth century. He wrote his first poems in high school. Hughes traveled extensively abroad before winning his first poetry contest in 1925. "Weary Blues" was his first published poem in 1926. His first novel was published in 1930, Not Without Laughter.