August Wilson is generally acknowledged to be the most respected African American playwright. His cycle of plays spanning the decades of the twentieth century have been profoundly influential in the American theatre, and highly acclaimed. Fences represents the decade of the 1950s, and when it premiered in 1985, it won the Pulitzer Prize. Set during the beginnings of the civil rights movement, it also concerns generational change and renewal, ending with a celebration of the life of its protagonist, even though it takes place at his funeral.

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