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Copy of Ballad of Birmingham

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by Karen Conner on 10 April 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Ballad of Birmingham

Ballad of Birmingham
By : Dudley Randall She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.


The mother smiled to know her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.


For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.


She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?” “Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”


“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”


“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”


“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.” Sound Devices Rhyme Repetition Alliteration Cacophony “Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”


“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”


“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”


“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.” A
B
C
B


D
E
F
E


G
H
I
H


J
K
L
K She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.


The mother smiled to know her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.


For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.


She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?” M
N
O
N


P
Q
R
Q


S
T
U
T


V
W
V
X “No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”


“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”


“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.” This repeating line in stanzas 2 & 4 demonstrate the mother's concern and protective nature. For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.

Stanza 7 She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
"O, here's the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?" Figurative Language Symbolism Metaphor Metonymy Irony Rhetorical Question "No, baby, no you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children's choir."

Stanza 4 The church symbolizes a place of peace and safety. She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.

Stanza 5 She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
"O, here's the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?"

Stanza 8 She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
"O, here's the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?"

Stanza 8 Situational Irony The church was thought to be a safe place where there is peace. The mother, fearing violence at the freedom march, sent her daughter there instead of the march. The church was bombed and her child is probably dead. Background Information On September 15, 1963, The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed as an act of racially motivated terrorism. Members of the Ku Klux Klan planted a box of dynamite under the steps of the church. Four girls were killed in the bombing. Big Idea This poem gives us an insight to what the civil rights movement was like in the sixties. There were clubs, hoses, dogs, and guns that the police would use, even against children. What is ironic is that the church was thought to be a safe place where there is peace. The mother, fearing violence at the freedom march, sent her daughter there instead of the march. The church was bombed and her child is probably dead. Another ironic event in the poem is the fact that the child was well groomed and dressed in white from head to toe, portraying an angel, but she was sent a hell-like warzone.
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