Charles (H.) Fuller (Jr.) 1939–
Black American playwright.
Fuller explores racism as it relates to a small group of people and to society at large. Honestly and intelligently created, his black and white characters are whole people, not stereotypes. The racial conflict in which they are involved is therefore deeply disturbing—one recognizes Fuller's characters as profoundly human and the racism they face as tragically true.
The Brownsville Raid, Fuller's first major success, is based on a true historical incident. In an almost documentary form and in a restrained style, Fuller artistically constructs the story of the dishonorable discharge of an entire black regiment from the U.S. Army. His portrayal of the black sergeant's subsequent crisis of faith is particularly moving.
In 1982, Fuller won the Pulitzer Prize in drama for A Soldier's Play, also a drama with a military setting. Though developed as a murder mystery, the real mystery studied is human behavior, in particular, black and white relations. As with The Brownsville Raid, critics of A Soldier's Play acclaim its authenticity and depth. Frank Rich describes the latter work as refracting "the effects of racism through people, without having us watch a fire-breathing white racist slap someone around."
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vol. 108 [brief entry].)