Oscar Wilde was a renowned author, poet, and playwright. He was born on October 16th, 1854, in Dublin and was renowned for his flamboyant style and brilliant wit, as well as his iniquitous imprisonment because of homosexuality. Oscar Wilde’s father was William Wilde, while his mother was Jane Francesca Elgee. He went to Portora Royal School until 1871, after which he was granted a scholarship to join Trinity College. In the year 1874, he was awarded the Berkeley Gold Medal and later awarded the Demyship award to study in Magdalen College, located in Oxford. He continued writing while in Oxford and, upon graduation, his poem Ravenna won the Newdigate Prize. In the year 1881, he was able to publish his very first compilation of poems. In the year 1882, he went on a journey to New York, and while in America, he gave a total of 140 lectures within a period of nine months. On the 29th of May in 1884, he got married to an English lady by the name Constance Lloyd. Together, they had two sons name Cyril and Vyvyan. In the year 1885, he was hired to manage The Woman's World magazine, and during his tenure, he was able to revitalize the magazine through the expansion of its coverage. Some of his most acclaimed works include The Happy Prince and Other Tales, The picture of Dorian Gray, Intentions, and A Woman of No Importance among others. As he enjoyed literary success, he got into an affair with Lord Alfred Douglas. This became the beginning of his downfall, as Douglas’s father, Marquis, got wind of the idea. On February 18th, 1895, Douglas’s father left Wilde a calling card at his home addressing him as a “sodomite.” Outraged by the accusation, Wilde sued Marquis. However, when the trial began, Marquis was able to provide adequate evidence of Wilde’s homosexuality and Wilde was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment on May 25th, 1895. In 1987, he was released from prison, but he was both emotionally and physically depleted. He died on November 30th, 1900, aged forty-six years.
Wilde’s visit to America came with a very important contribution to the country’s history. Apart from the many lectures he gave, Wilde, through his agent, purchased three sleeping car tickets and three first-class tickets, a set of which belonged to his black servant. Once Mr. Thweatt, who was one of the train’s employees, discovered that, he offered to make a refund of the ticket. However, Wilde declined the offer and insisted on having his servant travel in the first class coach. This was an uncommon occurrence, especially in a period where racial discrimination was the norm of the day. The story was published in The New York Times on July 9th, 1882, drawing criticisms from racists and admiration from crusaders of equality.