Interpretation of Poem “Ballad of Birmingham” – Dudley Randall
The poem was written as a response to the 1963 bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It was first published in 1965.
Throughout the poem the child is eager to go into Birmingham and march for freedom with the people there. The mother, on the other hand, is very adamant that the child should not go because it is dangerous. It is obvious that the child is concerned about the events surrounding the march and wants to be part of the movement. During the 1960s, riots, influenced by violence such as bomb, hose, and dog attacks, were common. It is understandable that the mother did not want her daughter exposed to this violence. In fact, she wanted her daughter as far away from the terror as possible. The one place that many would resort to would be a sacred place, the church. Throughout history, the church have always been looked at as a place of holiness and can be referred to as a place of safety.
Randall wrote his poem in dialogue to show a conversation between mother and daughter.
Poole, Phyllistine G. (Enero de 1983). «=People Profile: Dudley Randall Poet Laureate of Detroit». Colorlines Magazine 2 (2): 4, 28.
Randall, Dudley. "Broadside Press: A Personal Chronicle." en Floyd B.
Barbour (ed.), The Black Seventies, Porter Sargent Publisher, 1970, pp. 139–148. Reproducido. en Jeffrey W. Hunter (ed.), Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 135. Gale, 2001. Literature Resource Center.
Randall, Dudley. Ballad of Birmingham: On the Bombing of a Church in Birmingham. USA: Broadside Press, 1965. Print.