Dudley Randall was born in Washington, D.C., but moved to Detroit in 1920. He worked in a foundry early on, then served in the military during World War II, an experience described in some of his poems. He earned degrees in English and library science and took several library positions during his career, but he is perhaps most famous as the 1965 founder of Detroit's Broadside Press. The press issued the first books of a considerable number of black writers, along with an extensive series of historic poetry broadsides. Randall himself worked both in traditional stanzaic forms and in blues styles, often writing poems of articulate protest. See his Litany of Friends: New and Selected Poems (1983).