August Wilson Park – The Hill District’s Pride
AUGUST WILSON PARK AMENITIES
Cliffside Park was established along Cliff Street overlooking the Allegheny River in 1975.
In 2016 the park was redesigned and renamed the August Wilson Park, after the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pittsburgh playwright whose house is located nearby at 1727 Bedford Avenue.
August Wilson, original name Frederick August Kittel, was born April 27, 1945. Wilson is an iconic Pulitzer winning writer whose plays told the story of life for African-Americans in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.
The complexity of Wilson’s experience of race while growing up would be expressed in his plays. His mother was Black, his father white, and his stepfather, David Bedford, Black. The Hill District was mostly Black, and the suburb, Hazelwood, was predominately white. Wilson and his family were the target of racial threats in Hazelwood, and he quit school at age 15 after being accused of having plagiarized a paper. He turned to self-education, reading intensively in a public library and returning to the Hill District to learn from residents there.
Some of his most iconic works include Pulitzer winners Fences and The Piano Lesson.
Local schoolchildren helped to inspire the themes of this installation, which invites visitors to the park to look into the past, present, and future of the Hill District.