Clio Logo
August Wilson and the Civil Rights Movement in Pittsburgh
Item 8 of 9
The Lutz Meat Market was once located in this building on Centre Avenue. The market was owned by Karl Lutz. August Wilson included both the market and Lutz in his play, Two Trains Running. Within the play, Wilson stressed that there were racial tensions between Lutz and the Hill District’s African American community. However, this portrayal went against the actual moral character of Karl Lutz.

  • Interior of Lutz Meat Market (1963)
  • Exterior of Lutz Meat Market (2018)

In 1894, the Lutz Meat Market was established and became a community favorite until new ownership after the 1968 riots. August Wilson used the Lutz Meat Market as inspiration for his play, Two Trains Running. However, according to an article from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, his portrayal of Karl Lutz, owner of the market, was not accurate. Wilson needed to add aspects of the racial tensions that plagued the Hill District at the time. It is believed that he portrayed Lutz as a white man who was trying to fool African Americans. According to those who knew him, Lutz cared for the whole community and considered his African American employees as family. The Lutz Meat Market was one of the only stores in the Hill District to have African American employees. 

Hamill, Sean D. "The real-life story behind August Wilson’s character in his play about 1968 violence is different-and compelling." April 2, 2018. Accessed April 27, 2020.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Teenie Harris Archives – Carnegie Museum of Art

Antonella Crescimbeni for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette