After backlash, August Wilson Center restores "African American" to its name | Pittsburgh City Paper

After backlash, August Wilson Center restores "African American" to its name

click to enlarge CP PHOTO: ALEX GORDON
CP photo: Alex Gordon
After a backlash, the August Wilson Cultural Center is now the August Wilson African American Cultural Center.

The name was changed earlier this year to omit "African American" from the center's title. An online petition arose a few weeks ago asking to restore the name. More than 750 people has signed the petition.

"The name has been unceremoniously changed to the August Wilson Cultural Center," reads the petition. "We, the African American supporters of the center, are not pleased with this change. We ask that you rectify this to show your continued commitment to the African American Culture in which the center was initially built upon!"

According to a press release, the August Wilson board met recently and was unanimous in voting to restore "African American" to the name.

"We heard from our friends and allies the depth of feeling associated with having 'African American' present in the institutional branding, and we believe it is an upside compromise to include it,” said Janis Burley Wilson, the Center’s President and CEO, in the press release.

The Downtown center was originally dedicated in 2009. It honors Pittsburgh native August Wilson, who is renowned the world over for his plays depicted the struggles of Black life, with strong focus on Pittsburgh's Hill District. The August Wilson African American Culture Center holds numerous events year round, with a strong focus on supporting Black culture, artists, musicians, and speakers.