Dudley Randall's Poem Ballad of Birmingham
The poem 'The Ballad of Birmingham', by Dudley Randall, is based on the historical event of the bombing in 1963 of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s church by white terrorists. It is a poem in which a daughter expresses her interest in attending a civil rights rally and the mother fearful for her daughter's safety refuses to let her go. In the poem the daughter in fighting for the course of the operessed people of her time/generation instead of going out to play. She is concerned with securing the freedom of her people during the civil rights era in the 1960s. Hence, in lines 3 and 4 she says ?And marc the streets of Birmingham?. ?In a freedom march today.
In response to her desire and request, her mother would not support her joining the freedom march, explaining to her the implications for a young girl. The mother reminds her about the dangers she could meet on th way, referring to the opressors in line six as ?The dogs are fierce and wild? and would use their dangerous weapons (in line 7) clubs, horses, guns and jails to stall her every move. Her mother even reminds her that such weapons and jail houses are not a good for a young person.
In her determination to be part of the freedom fighters, the daughter tries to win her mother?s agreement and approval for her to join others in the March. She tells her mother that other children will also be marching today to make the country free.
The mother would not change her mind to...
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Dudley Randall's Ballad of Birmingham gives a poetic account of the bombing of a Birmingham church in 1963. The poem was written in ballad form to convey the mood of the mother to her daughter. The author also gives a graphic account of what the 1960's were like. Irony played a part also in the ballad showing the church as the warzone and the freedom march as the safer place to be.
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