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"The Long Wait"

Dr. Sandra Shannon published this article on August Wilson's play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, in 1991 when the upstart playwright was still relatively new to the scene; he was less than halfway through writing the ten plays now known as the American Century Cycle.  Here, Shannon focuses upon the toll that waiting takes on the entire cast, especially the trumpet player Levee. The premise of Shannon's article not only resonated with black Americans of the late 1920s but it also speaks to familiar obstacles faced in this current moment of unrest, which, thankfully, are being met with mass resistance.

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Dr. Sandra G. Shannon is Professor Emerita of African American Literature in the Department of English at Howard University.  Widely acknowledged as the leading authority on playwright August Wilson, she is Founder of the August Wilson Society and has written numerous essays and chapters on Wilson.

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