Dudley Randall (1914-2000), the founder of Broadside Press, one of the earliest engines of the Black Arts movement, was an African American poet and librarian as well as a pioneering publisher of Gwendolyn Brooks, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Sonia Sanchez, and Margaret Walker. His own poetry, characterized by plainspoken reflections on black history, includes “The Ballad of Birmingham,” a response to the infamous 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, and the dramatic dialogue “Booker T. and W.E.B.,” now a classroom staple. Detroit, the home of the Broadside Press, named him the city’s Poet Laureate in 1981. While the FBI studied Randall relatively briefly in the late 1960s, he helped to invent the subgenre of the “Informer Poem,” attacking the Bureau’s methods by name in poems such as “Abu,” “Informer,” and “F.B.I. Memo.”
FBI documents studying Dudley Randall.
Material is in the public domain.
text, 46 PDFs, 400 ppi