An African-American Century


With "Radio Golf," August Wilson concludes his 10-play cycle on the African-American experience in 20th-century America. Here are the plays, one for each decade, in the order of the years in which they are set:

GEM OF THE OCEAN (1904) Freeborn men and former slaves meet at the Pittsburgh Hill District home of Aunt Ester, a central figure in the neighborhood. (Review, 2004)

JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE (1911) Released from the bondage of a bounty hunter, a man seeks his missing wife. (Review, 1988)

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM (1927) The blues figure, in a recording studio, fights against the racial caste system. (Review, 1984)

THE PIANO LESSON (1936) A brother and sister struggle over a piano that symbolizes their unhappy family history. (Review, 1990)

SEVEN GUITARS (1948) A blues musician's hit song changes the lives of his sidemen, friends and lover. (Review, 1996)

FENCES (1957) The prospect of an athletic scholarship further divides a father and son. (Review, 1987)

TWO TRAINS RUNNING (1969) A convict, trying to salvage his life on the outside, re-encounters the regulars at a neighborhood lunch counter. (Review, 1992)

JITNEY (1977) The owner of a gypsy cab company and his son, who has been released from prison, resume their painful relationship. (Review, 2000)

KING HEDLEY II (1985) After spending seven years in prison, the title character returns to a neighborhood gutted by Reaganomics. (Review, 2001)

RADIO GOLF (1997) Descendants of characters in "Gem of the Ocean" vie over the future: should the African-American past be remembered or forgotten?