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Wilson's plays form a kind of fever chart of the unmooring trauma of slavery. Their historical trajectory takes African-Americans through the shock of freedom at the turn of the century (Gem of the Ocean); to the reassembling of identity in the teens (Joe Turner's Come and Gone); the struggle for power in the urban America in the twenties (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom); the dilemma of embracing their past as slaves in the thirties (The Piano Lesson);...
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