A Historical Look Into the “Ballad of Birmingham

1102 WordsApr 7, 20135 Pages
A Historical Look into the “Ballad of Birmingham The “Ballad of Birmingham is a shocking poem that was written by Dudley Randall about a bombing of an African American church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The bombing of the church was racially motivated and resulted in the death of four innocent African American girls and was the turning point in the United States 1960s Civil Rights Movement. In Dudley’s poem he has taken such a sad event and turned it into a poem showing the racially motivated terrorism that was occurring during that time frame. The poem is written in conversation form between a mother and her daughter where the daughter is asking to go the March on Birmingham and the mother is expressing her concerns about her…show more content…
During that time the church was supposed to be one of the safe havens for African Americans during such a racist time frame toward their kind. It is here that the reader is able to identify why the mother would assume that the church was a safe placed to go instead of heading to the march in downtown Birmingham. “But that smile was the last smile/to come upon her face/For when she heard the explosion/Her eyes grew wet and wild” (23-26). The date of the actual bombing of the church was September 15, 1963 at 10:22am and it exploded before Sunday services had even began. The bomb was set off by Robert Chambliss, who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, who hid the bomb underneath the steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church. As a mother of course her assumption was that a church would be the best place to go and surely less violent then the marches downtown but in this poem Randall shows us just how inaccurate that was during the 1960’s.The church bombing itself was what caused such a violent and angry explosion between police and protestors and helped bring national attention to the Civil Rights Movement. By understanding the significance of the bombing itself it allows the reader to take a more historical look into the struggles of the African American community at the time. In conclusion, the events that happened during this time frame can easily
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