Dudley Randall, Broadside Press, and the Black Arts Movement in Detroit, 1960–1995


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About the Book

In 1965 Dudley F. Randall founded the Broadside Press, a company devoted to publishing, distributing and promoting the works of black poets and writers. In so doing, he became a major player in the civil rights movement. Hundreds of black writers were given an outlet for their work and for their calls for equality and black identity. Though Broadside was established on a minimal budget, Randall’s unique skills made the press successful. He was trained as a librarian and had spent decades studying and writing poetry; most importantly, Randall was totally committed to the advancement of black literature. The famous and relatively unknown sought out Broadside, including such writers as Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Walker, Mae Jackson, Lance Jeffers, Etheridge Knight, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Audre Lorde and Sterling D. Plumpp. His story is one of battling to promote black identity and equality through literature, and thus lifting the cultural lives of all Americans.

About the Author(s)

The Julius E. Thompson was the director of the Black Studies Program and a professor of history at the University of Missouri, Columbia. The author of Lynching in Mississippi: A History, 1865–1965 (1999), he lived in Columbia, Missouri.

Bibliographic Details

Julius E. Thompson

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 352
Bibliographic Info: photos, tables, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2264-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures     vii
Preface     1

1. Dudley Randall, Black Life and Culture in Detroit, 1900–1959     5
2. The Early Development of Broadside Press, 1960–1969     21
3. The Growth of Broadside Press, 1970–1975     75
4. Crisis and Decline of Broadside Press, 1976–1979     133
5. Revival and Rebirth, 1980–1995     181
6. The Achievement of Broadside Press, 1965–1995     228

A. Chronology of Broadside Press     241
B. Broadside Press Authors and Artists, 1965–1995     249

Notes     257
Selected Bibliography     313
Index     339

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Thompson has meticulously researched virtually every aspect of Randall’s involvement with Broadside Press…this painstaking account helps to fill a significant gap in the literature about African American writers, and it belongs on the shelves of all major academic and public libraries”—Choice
  • “carefully and deeply researched book…the definitive biography of Randall and the definitive account of his Broadside Press…a fascinating profile of the world of black poetry publishing in the United States in the last 35 years…an outstanding book…a priority purchase for all libraries…recommended”—LISCA
  • “useful”—Journal of American History
  • “well-researched book…an insightful assessment of the contribution of Dudley Randall and of Broadside Press”—Dunbar On Black Books
  • “a richly documented study of an important figure in African American literary and publishing history…should prove of considerable interest to booksellers, collectors, and librarians”—AB Bookman’s Weekly