The sculptor Oliver LaGrone, Melvin B. Tolson, & Dudley Randall, July 1965
Photo from the LOC but linked from the Dudley Randall biography
via the Oxford African American Studies Center

Dudley Randall

on Melvin B. Tolson:

Portrait of a Poet as Raconteur

    Dudley Randall's Broadside Press helped form a generational bridge between the writers of Tolson's generation and the burgeoning Black Arts Movement of the 60's. He describes his encounters with Tolson in a Negro Digest article below, and we've supplied a few other bits of information about the Broadside Press, including a small photo of other early Broadsides. You'll also find a link to Randall's article about the press in the January 1976 issue of Black World, and a picture and link for a bit more information about the sculptor Oliver LaGrone, listed above. Tolson's Broadside was called 'The Sea-turtle and the Shark', and you can see a photo of the Twayne Publisher's reproduction of the Broadside here



A short history of the Broadside Press from:
Broadside Press Collection, 1965-1984
University of Massachusetts

   While attending the first Writers' Conference at Fisk University in May 1966, Randall obtained permission from Robert Hayden, Melvin Tolson, and Margaret Walker to republish one poem each in what he called his Broadside Series, which became broadsides 3, 4, and 5 during the fall 1966. Shortly thereafter, Gwendolyn Brooks gave permission for Randall to republish one of her poems, resulting in "We Real Cool" in December 1966 (Broadside 6).

   Collectively, these first six broadsides, known as the Poems of the Negro Revolt, set a tone for what would follow, reflecting the culturally assertive and often radical voice of African America in the late 1960s. Intentionally simple in design, the broadsides can be viewed through the lens of a centuries-old tradition of publication. Produced and sold cheaply, typically responding directly to the social and political issues of the moment, the broadsides address subjects ranging from Malcolm X, to Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis, Black Power, the women's movement, and revolutionary politics. Later productions in the Broadsides series are not properly broadsides at all, but simple folded sheets, resulting in four page cards, often including poems by several writers.

Randall's papers are now in the University of Detroit Mercy Special Collections

         Dudley Randall on
Melvin B. Tolson :
Portrait of a Poet
as Raconteur

Black World/Negro Digest
Jan 1966 96 pages
Vol. 15, No. 3

Randall's story of the Broadside Press in

Black World, Jan 1976, Vol. 25, No. 3

Broadside Press samples from
Lorne Bair Books [ ]

Collection of 24 Scarce Broadsides from Dudley Randall's Broadside Press

Detroit: Broadside Press, 1966-69. First Edition. Twenty-four printed broadsides. Most on a single side of a single sheet, but one double-sided and one other folded to make 4pp. One signed (see below). Occasional mild marginal wear or soiling; all are in Very Good condition or better. Various dates.

Dudley Randall's Broadside Press was the leading publisher for the Black Arts movement during the Civil Rights era. Between 1966 and 1975 the Press issued nearly 100 poems (roughly one per month) in its Broadside Series.

Dudley Randalls' Modern American Poetry Page is listed below:

Dudley Randall - Broadsides - Poems - Bibliography

And last but not least, two photos of the talented Oliver LaGrone at work from the
Smithsonian Institution website. He's seated on Tolson's right in the photo at the top of the page.