New Documentary, August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, to Air on PBS

August Wilson: He Wrote About the ‘Frustration and the Glory’ of Being Black

American Masters—August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, airing on PBS Feb. 20, gives an inside look at a private man referred to by many as an outsider. Wilson, the brilliant Pittsburgh-born playwright who wrote 10 plays—nine of which took place in his hometown—covering 10 decades, explored the cultural ideas and attitudes of what playwright-actor-director Ruben Santiago-Hudson calls “a specific type of people.” Through Wilson’s words and those of people closest to him, including colleagues, friends, family and community elders, along with excerpts from his award-winning plays, viewers are given a glimpse into the extraordinary life lived by an ordinary man.

The Ground on Which I Stand offers various types of commentary—scholarly, familial and collegial—about the mister behind the master of literature, who was able to capture the spirit and culture of a people in a way that is described as “super reality” in the documentary. The audience learns about the man behind the mythical figure who churned out Pulitzer Prize-winning plays and poetry that explored “the frustration and the glory of being Black” (pdf) in America, as Santiago-Hudson says. 

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