Black Unicorn: Dudley Randall and Broadside Press

30 October 2013
Black Unicorn: Dudley Randall and Broadside Press

Known for its insightful and moving documentaries, the Sankofa Film Series returns to the University of Michigan Detroit Center with a screening of “Black Unicorn: Dudley Randall and Broadside Press.”

The first of this four film series takes place on Friday, November 15 beginning at 6:15 p.m. The event includes complimentary admission, parking and light refreshments to all attendees. Following the film, a brief discussion on the documentary will be lead by Dr. Melba Joyce Boyd.

Black Unicorn: Dudley Randall and Broadside Press is a documentary of the life and work of Dudley Randall, a significant contributor to twentieth-century African American literature. Based around a 1981 interview, Dudley Randall recounts the story of his life including his early exposure to poetry, perusing a writing career, and having his work published in the Detroit Free Press in 1930. In addition to his poetry, Randall speaks at length about his experiences during the 1943 race riots in Detroit. In 1965, Randall established the Broadside Press and published the poem, "Ballad of Birmingham," to preserve its copyright. The Broadside Press served as a significant voice during the Civil Rights Movement and became a significant outlet for poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Etheridge Knight and Nikki Giovanni. The publication also served as a voice for others whose work, more political than literary, may have not had not been heard otherwise.

About the Speaker: Melba Joyce Boyd is Distinguished Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at Wayne State University. She is the author of thirteen books, including Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press (Columbia University Press) which received the 2005 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Book Honor for Nonfiction, and the editor of Roses and Revolutions: the Collected Writings of Dudley Randall (2009) which received the 2010 Library of Michigan Notable Books Award and was a finalist for a 2010 NAACP Image Award in Literature.

Boyd lectures at universities and conferences throughout the United States and abroad, and is the author of over 50 published essays on African American literature and film.  In addition, she is the writer, producer and director of the documentary film, The Black Unicorn: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press (1996). She is the series co-editor of the African American Life Series at WSU Press, and a contributing editor for The Black Scholar: The Journal of Black Studies and Research. From 1983-84, she was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Bremen in Germany; and, in 2009, she was a Visiting Professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She has held professorial positions at the University of Iowa, Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, where she continues to be an Adjunct Professor for The Center for Afroamerican and African Studies. (Source: Wayne State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.)

The 2013-2014 Sankofa Film Series is a collaborative effort between the UM-Dearborn African & African-American Studies Program and the U-M Detroit Center.

The University of Michigan Detroit Center is located on the first floor of Orchestra Place, 3663 Woodward Avenue (next to Orchestra Hall). For more information on the event, contact the Detroit Center at detroitcenter@umich.edu / 313-593-3584.