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For this essay you will use outside research to explore some aspect of the historical context that underlies August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In his Century Cycle drama series, August Wilson wrote a play exploring the black experience during each decade of the 20th century. What does Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom say about black culture and what it means to be black in the United States in the 1920s? How does the play fit into the American historical timeline of racism and the struggle for civil rights? How does Wilson include the larger historical and cultural context of the time period into the staging and themes of this play? How might the play reflect or comment on the cultural context of the 1980s, when the play was written and first performed?