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Ed Bullins

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Information about Ed Bullins

Profile image of Ed Bullins

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Playwright

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/2/1935
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Playwright

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/2/1935
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how Ed Bullins is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Award-winning playwright Ed Bullins has been a force in American theater for more than thirty-five years. Born on July 2, 1935 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bullins attended Philadelphia public schools before he dropped out of Benjamin Franklin High School because he found it unchallenging. After joining the U.S. Navy in 1952, he won a lightweight boxing championship and started self-study through correspondence courses. In 1989, he earned his B.A. degree in English and playwriting from Antioch University in San Francisco, California. Bullins then received his M.F.A. degree from San Francisco State University in 1994.

In 1958, Bullins moves to Los Angeles, earned his general education diploma, and attended Los Angeles City College. Moving to San Francisco in 1964, Bullins entered a college writing program. In 1965, his plays How Do You Do, Dialect Determinism and Clara’s Ole Man were staged at the Firehouse Repertory Theatre in San Francisco. With poet Amiri Baraka, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver, Bullins founded the cultural and political organization Black House and worked as its cultural director. Later, he served as minister of culture for the Black Panther Party.

In 1967, Bullins started his six-year association with Robert McBeth’s New Lafayette Theatre in New York City and he became its playwright-in-residence. Also the editor of Black Theatre magazine, Bullins wrote and produced many plays during his time at the Lafayette.

Winner of the 1968 Vernon Rice Drama Desk Award for plays performed at the American Place Theatre in New York, Bullins also won the 1971 Obie Award for distinguished playwriting and the Black Arts Alliance Award for his plays The Fabulous Miss Marie and In New England Winter. Bullins earned Guggenheim Fellowships for playwriting in 1971 and 1976 and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1995, Bullins was appointed as a professor of theater and a distinguished artist-in-residence at Northeastern University.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ed Bullins' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ed Bullins lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ed Bullins describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ed Bullins describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ed Bullins describes his various residences as a young child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ed Bullins recalls his time at James R. Ludlow School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ed Bullins recalls spending some of his childhood summers and a school year in Denton, Maryland
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ed Bullins talks about his experience at Joseph C. Ferguson School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ed Bullins recalls his activities and friends from his youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ed Bullins remembers what led him to leave Benjamin Franklin High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ed Bullins recalls his job as a delivery boy and his experience in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ed Bullins describes his education in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ed Bullins remembers winning a fleet boxing championship while in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ed Bullins talks about his initial post-secondary education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ed Bullins remembers earning his G.E.D. degree after moving to Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ed Bullins talks about studying economics at Los Angeles City College in Los Angeles, California and his play 'The Electronic Nigger'
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ed Bullins remembers developing his passion for writing while living in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ed Bullins names the people who influenced his development as a writer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ed Bullins talks about founding the literary magazine Citadel at Los Angeles City College in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ed Bullins talks about his foray into theater in San Francisco, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ed Bullins remembers discovering his calling for playwriting
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ed Bullins talks about writing his first play, 'How Do you Do'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ed Bullins talks about working with Amiri Baraka
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ed Bullins reflects on the characterization of his work and his involvement with the Black Arts Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ed Bullins remembers his involvement with Black Theatre Magazine and the New Lafayette Theatre in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ed Bullins talks about his time with the New York Shakespeare Festival
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ed Bullins talks about his playwriting awards
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ed Bullins talks about his return to San Francisco, California to pursue higher education degrees and to raise his child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ed Bullins talks about his play 'The Mystery of Phillis Wheatley: An Historical Play for Young Americans'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ed Bullins talks about accepting a faculty position at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ed Bullins describes his academic and theater work in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ed Bullins describes his recent work as a mentor and producer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ed Bullins describes his plays 'Boy X Man' and 'We Righteous Bombers'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ed Bullins talks about his presentation at the 2005 Paul Robeson Conference at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ed Bullins describes his relationship with author James Baldwin
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ed Bullins describes his writing studio in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ed Bullins reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ed Bullins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ed Bullins reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ed Bullins narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ed Bullins narrates his photographs, pt. 2