The focus of Wilson’s attention in Fences is Troy, a 53-year-old head of household who struggles with providing for his family. The play takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; although never officially named, it makes mention of several key locations in Pittsburgh. In his younger days, Troy was an excellent player in Negro league baseball and continued practicing baseball while in prison for an accidental murder he had committed during a robbery
. Because the color barrier had not yet been broken in Major League Baseball, Troy was unable to get into MLB to make good money or to save for the future. He now lives a menial, though respectable life of trash collecting; later in the play, he remarkably crosses the race barrier and becomes the first black truck driver in Pittsburgh instead of just a barrel lifter.