So begins Redmond's preface to his comprehensive critical history of African American poetry.
The Eugene B. Redmond Collection in the Louisa H. Bowen University Archives and Special Collections at Lovejoy Library includes multiple iterations of Redmond's manuscript for Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry: A Critical History.
As seen by the handwritten edits below, Redmond modified almost every line on the first page of his original typed preface manuscript. Comparison of the marked-up manuscript with the finished published preface reveals that Redmond made additional refinements to the text before he was satisfied.
Redmond credits his first professional postition at Southern Illinois University's Experiment in Higher Education in East St. Louis with providing the "germinating ideas" for this important work (page xv). With this book, Redmond accomplished his stated ambition to "[combine] all previous ventures in the area of the [Afro-American] poetry-- giving new interpretations and updating an exciting history which began with Lucy Terry, who wrote a poem 229 years ago" (page xiii).