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In February 2015, the PBS series American Masters and Pittsburgh’s WQED will present the documentary, August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, the definitive story of the most prolific playwright of the last half of the 20th century.  iQ: smartmedia, WQED’s educational initiative, is honored to provide national educational projects and outreach in support of this documentary throughout the 2014-2015 school year. The August Wilson Education Project will equip and empower high school educators to engage their students in meaningful ways around the life, work, and cultural impact of August Wilson.  

Considered America’s Shakespeare, Pittsburgh native and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning African American playwright August Wilson (1945-2005) wrote an unprecedented ten-play Century Cycle set mostly in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Wilson chronicled the joys, frustrations, history, and culture of African Americans throughout the twentieth century, with one play set in each decade of the century. He told extraordinary stories about ordinary people and changed the face of the American theater.

The goal of The August Wilson Education Project is to encourage students to develop their unique voice while exploring the timeless themes prevalent in Wilson’s work: community, identity, diversity, activism, self-reliance, and resilience. 

The 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. In select cities—Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC—the Project will present additional outreach in partnership with schools, libraries, theaters, and other community organizations. This national education outreach effort is supported by The PNC Foundation.

What extraordinary 21st-century stories will young people tell about their lives and their communities?

WQED and The August Wilson Education Project wish to thank the following for their support and contributions:
The PNC FoundationThe August Wilson Society at Howard University
The National Endowment for the HumanitiesCarnegie Mellon University – School of Drama
Heinz EndowmentsLaurence Glasco, Ph.D.
PBS - American MastersPenumbra Theatre Company
WNETPfaffman + Associates
Georgia Public BroadcastingPittsburgh Public Theater
WHUT Howard University TelevisionChristopher Rawson, Ph.D.
WYCC PBS ChicagoThe Senator John Heinz History Center
The August Wilson EstateSandra Shannon, Ph.D.
The Arts Education Partnership