Black Panther - Ed Bullins - Black History and Literature Library
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  • Black Panther - Ed Bullins - Black Activist, Black Man, Black Panther - Black History and Literature Library

    Black Panther - Ed Bullins

    Ed Bullins (born July 2, 1935 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American playwright. He was also the Minister of Culture for the Black Panthers. In addition, he has won numerous awards, including the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and several Obie Awards. He is among the best known playwrights of the Black Arts Movement.

    Bullins was born July 2, 1935 in Philadelphia. He was born to Bertha Marie Queen and Edward Bullins, and was raised primarily by his mother. As a child, he attended predominantly white schools and became involved with gangs. He attended Franklin High School, where he was stabbed in a gang-related incident. Shortly thereafter, he dropped out of high school and joined the navy. During this period, he won a boxing championship, began to read, returned to Philadelphia, and enrolled in night school. He stayed in Philadelphia until moving to Los Angeles in 1958, leaving behind a wife and children. He married poet and activist Pat Parker in 1962. Parker and Bullins separated after four years. Parker later said that Bullins was physically violent and that she was "scared to death". After completing his G.E.D., Bullins enrolled in Los Angeles City College and began writing short stories for the Citadel, a magazine he started. In 1964, he moved to San Francisco and joined the creative writing program at San Francisco State College, where he started writing plays. Bullins' first play was How Do You Do, immediately followed by Clara's Ole [Old] Man and Dialect Determinism.

    After seeing Amiri Baraka's play Dutchman, Bullins felt that Baraka's artistic purpose was similar to his own. He joined Baraka at Black House, the Black Arts Movement's cultural center, along with Sonia Sanchez, Huey Newton, Marvin X, and others. The Black Panthers used Black House as their base in San Francisco, where Bullins served temporarily as their Minister of Culture in producing theater as protest. Black House eventually split into two opposing factions: one group considered art to be a weapon and advocated joining with whites to achieve political ends, while the other group considered art to be a form of cultural nationalism and didn't want to work with whites. Bullins was a part of the latter group.

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