Anthologies and Critical Studies


Gwendolyn Brooks had already received a Pulitzer Prize when, in 1969, she left her publisher Harper and Rowe to join the ranks of poets represented by Broadside Press. Such acts of support helped the press to become established during its early years. Brooks would edit two poetry anthologies for Broadside during the seventies. One of them is on display on this page.

Other books shown here include anthologies and works of criticism that emerged from Broadside in the nineteen sixties and seventies. These include a study of Countee Cullen by Houston A. Baker, who would go on to become one of the most influential critics of African American culture and literature. Baker’s book, along with those by Addison Gayle, Jr. and Don L. Lee (later known as Haki R. Madhubuti) were a part of the Broadside Critics Series. These publications suggest the ways Broadside contributed to the development of African American literary criticism and Black Studies.

Dudley Randall had to overcome great obstacles to create a viable publishing venture that worked outside the circuits of an industry that had little interest in the work of African American poets. During its heyday, Broadside published high quality, inexpensive works aimed primarily at a Black reading public. During this period, Broadside Press published a broader variety and a larger number of broadsides, anthologies, books, and tapes of poetry than did any other Black Arts publisher in the United States.

Additional items in exhibition:

Houston A. Baker, Jr. A Many-Colored Coat of Dreams: the Poetry of Countee Cullen. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1974.

Julius E. Thompson. Dudley Randall, Broadside Press and the Black Arts Movement in Detroit, 1960-1995. Jefferson, North Carolina. McFarland & Co, Inc., 1999.

Addison Gayle Jr. Claude Mckay: the Poet at War. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1972.