Broadside Magazine and Topical Songs
Broadside was founded in 1962 by Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friessen in the wake of McCarthyism. It emerged as a creative outlet for composers who were writing "topical songs," or music that comments on current issues, and provided a rare forum through which these songwriters could publicize and circulate their materials. Based in New York City, the publication largely featured protest and "agit-prop" (agitation-propaganda) songs, including many compositions written in response to the increasingly violent scenes of the civil rights movement.
Broadside was published with an old mimeograph machine, lending
it a homespun appearance that belies its powerful influence on American
music. Broadside helped to circulate songs from the front lines
of the Freedom Struggle, including "Ain’t Gonna Let Segregation
Turn Me Around," "Oh Pritchett, Oh Kelly," "I Ain’t
Scared of Your Jail," and "Never Turn Back," as well
as numerous songs by northern songwriters responding to and documenting
the events taking place in the civil rights movement.