Broadside Press was founded in 1965 by Dudley Randall, then a librarian at the University of Detroit who with his small librarian paycheck, created a press to publish his own poetry and the work of Black poets. He aimed to publish new poets and new forms of poetry, to distribute African-American writers to a younger audience, and to contribute to a growing Black Arts Movement taking place across the country.
For the next twenty years, with Randall as its editor, Broadside Press published and distributed the work of hundreds of poets, earning Randall the title “the Father of the Black Poetry Movement.” The Press is recognized today for publishing some of the major American poetry of the twentieth century, including work by Pulitzer-winner, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Walker, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Amiri Baraka, and Sonia Sanchez.
Reading the poetry broadsides of the early 1970s today, brings into focus the power of poetry to magnify Black voices and experiences. The broadsides, recordings, and books of the Press that reside in the UConn Archives, together with an expanding archive of work by twentieth and twenty-first century African-American artists, writers, musicians and printmakers, document the role of individual artists in building a community where Black art, creativity, and enterprise could thrive.
Periodicals and Small Press Editions from the Alternative Press and Literary Magazines Collections, Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library
Melba Joyce Boyd, Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press, Columbia University Press, 2004