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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.

Broadside magazine cover Broadside magazine cover
Broadside magazine cover Broadside magazine cover Broadside magazine cover
Reproductions from Broadside, 1 (Feb. 1962) 1; 17 (Dec. 1962) 1; 23 (Mar. 1963) 1; 29 (July 1963) 1; 30 (August 1963); 1; 50 (Sept. 22, 1964) 1.
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