Phylicia Rashad
December 23, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Phylicia Rashad remembers August Wilson

APRIL 27, 1945-OCT. 2, 2005

A lover of language with a masterful understanding of rhythms in speech, August Wilson brought to the stage those lives that are typically regarded as dull and unimportant. In his way of thinking, every human being was endowed with dignity and, therefore, worthy of respect. His presentation was so authentically human. Within the context of his own ethnicity and cultural heritage, he posed philosophical questions: What does it mean to be free? What is the individual’s responsibility to freedom? And he offered an answer: Freedom is attained through the recognition of the deepest part of our selves. Inherent in this recognition is the experience of connection to all who have come before and exist now, and the responsibility to prepare the way — a good way — for all who will follow. Had he not written the cycle of plays, the people of Pittsburgh’s Hill District, the community in which he grew up, would have been forgotten. Remembrance was important to August, and it is important that he be remembered. (Wilson died of liver cancer in Seattle.)

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