One of the films in contention for multiple awards at the Oscars this past Sunday was Fences, a cinematic adaptation of an August Wilson play ushered onto the big screen by Denzel Washington. The film was up for a number of Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Denzel Washington), Best Supporting Actress (for Viola Davis) and Best Adapted Screenplay — an Oscar that would be awarded to the late playwright, who died in 2005.
Back in 1988, Bill Moyers spoke with August Wilson about his plays, which chronicle the African-American experience throughout the 20th Century. Their conversation took place a year after Wilson won his first Pulitzer Prize (for Fences), and two years before he won his second (for The Piano Lesson). Bill had just seen a performance of Fences, and spoke to Wilson about it, and how race informed his writing.