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Year-long series of events continues at Marygrove College on October10, 2013 

DETROIT, Oct. 7, 2013— The Dudley Randall Robert Hayden/Dudley Randall Centennial Project will commemorate, through a variety of programs and activities at different Detroit area sites, two renowned poets who grew up and began writing poetry in the Detroit communities known as Black Bottom and Paradise Valley. The purpose of these events is to examine the two poets’ contributions to American culture, to expose their work to new audiences, to provide opportunities for creative and scholarly expressions that intersect with their poetic legacies, and to acknowledge the historical occasion.

As part of Marygrove College’s Defining Detroit series, Marygrove professor Frank Rashid and Wayne State University professor Melba Joyce Boyd and will give a joint presentation on Robert Hayden and Dudley Randall.  Film clips and bio-critical discussion of the Detroit writers will trace the relationship between their lives and their writings. This event will take place on Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Marygrove College Theatre, 8425 West McNichols, Detroit, and is free and open to the public.  Call (313) 927-1383 for information. 


Robert Hayden was born on August 4, 1913 in Detroit, Michigan, and Dudley Randall was born on January 14, 1914 in Washington DC, but moved to Detroit with his family on January 1, 1920.  Hayden and Randall were first introduced to each other because they were poets.  This introduction in 1937 occurred during the Great Depression and when both were engaged in the labor movement in Detroit.  This relationship evolved into a life-long friendship.  Though they pursued higher education at different times in their lives, they both majored in English at Wayne State University, and they both secured graduate degrees at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor: Hayden in creative writing and Randall in library science.  Ultimately, both poets achieved international recognition and critical acclaim as poets; and as editors and educators, they made major contributions to the African American literary canon.

Additional scheduled events:

November 1, 2013: Robert Hayden: A Centennial Conference And Poetry Tribute Hayden at the Rackham Amphitheater at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, featuring poet Harryette Mullen, Professor of English and Creative Writing at UCLA as the keynote speaker. Other participants include Hayden editor Frederick Glaysher, poet Lawrence Joseph, UM professor and scholar Laurence Goldstein, and UM faculty members Linda Gregerson and A. Van Jordan.

November 1, 2013: Ras Baraka, poet and spoken word artist and Newark, NJ City councilman will be the featured poet at an evening celebrating the Randall/Hayden Centennial Birthday Series. Barak will speak at 7:00 p.m., at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Sponsored by the Department of African and African American Studies at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. This is a free event. For more information, contact Sharie Beard: (313) 593-4925 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A traveling exhibit of books and broadsides by and about Hayden and Randall, historic photos, as well as rare manuscripts and papers is being prepared for the Centennial Celebration.  These will be on display at various sites, including the Virgil Carr main gallery, and the Wayne State University’s Undergraduate Library. 

January 12, 2014: Broadside Press and the University of Detroit Mercy's McNichols Campus Library and Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture will co-sponsor a celebration of Dudley Randall's birthday on Sunday, January 12 at 3:00p.m. This event will be held in the Bargman Room on the second floor the McNichols Library, where a national Literary Landmark plaque honors Mr. Randall's contributions to American literature. The program will feature readings by Broadside poets and other metro area writers. Refreshments will be served. Free admission. 

February 2014 Black History Month: the Department of Africana Studies at Wayne State University will highlight a number of events focused on Hayden and Randall.  Selected poets and scholars will make presentations during the month. 

In the month of February 2014 The University of Detroit Mercy's McNichols Campus Library will host an exhibit drawn from its Dudley Randall Broadside Press Special Collection, which features numerous papers and books of Mr. Randall's.

March, the University of Michigan’s Semester in Detroit Project will host a screening of The Black Unicorn: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press and Austere and Lonely Offices: The Poetry of Robert Hayden.  A discussion with the filmmaker will follow the screening. Date and time to be announced. 

April 2014 Poetry Month will be dedicated to the Hayden/Randall Centennial.  There will be a premier showing of the documentary film, Austere and Lonely Offices at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. A poetry reading will follow at the Ring of Genealogy in the Rotunda, where both poets have been commemorated. Reading of original works by the poets, as well as a performance by students in the Inside Out Literary Project will extend the Hayden/Randall legacy. (To be confirmed) 

April 2014: During the month of April the University of Detroit Mercy will hold a "teach-in" about Hayden's and Randall's poetry for both the high school and university students organized by Professor Rosemary Weatherston. Details to be announced. 

These events will occur at Wayne State University, Marygrove College, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, University of Detroit Mercy, and University of Michigan Detroit Center. Many events are free and open to the public.

Affiliated Organizations

  • Wayne State University’s Departments of Africana Studies and English
  • University of Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus Library, Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture, and the African American Studies Program
  • Marygrove College, Department of English and Modern Languages and Institute for Detroit Studies
  • The Virgil Carr Center
  • Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
  • Inside Out Literary Project
  • Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Detroit Chapter.
  • Detroit Historical Society
  • Michigan State University’s African American Studies Program
  • Central Michigan University, Department of English
  • Eastern Michigan University, Department of African American Studies
  • The Spiral Collective
  • The University of Michigan—Dearborn, African American Studies Program and the Department of English
  • The University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, Departments of Afro-American and African Studies and English

For more information specific to this series of events, contact Frank Rashid at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (313) 927-1448.



Founded by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in 1905, Marygrove College is an independent liberal arts college and a Catholic institution of higher learning. The College’s commitment to the city of Detroit comprises an institutional mission and vision for developing urban leaders. The main campus is situated on 53 wooded acres in northwest Detroit.

8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221