Imagery In Dudley Randall's Poem Ballad Of Birmingham

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Birmingham, Alabama, 1963 “Ballad of Birmingham” was written by Dudley Randall in response to the bombing of the African American church. The poem is a story of a young girl asking her mother if she can go to the Freedom March with some of her friends “to make our country free” (line 12). The mother wants her to go to the church instead of the march so she can sing in the children’s choir. The daughter gets dressed, puts white gloves on her hands, and white shoes on her feet for church choir. The mother is joyed that her daughter is in a safe and sacred place, but soon hears an explosion. Her mother runs to the church like she knew what was going on to look for her child. The mother could only find her daughter’s white shoe, but not her daughter.…show more content…
This was to help the young girl voice her opinion about the segregation issues that was in America at this time. There was strong imagery involved in the poem too. When the mother says the dogs are fierce and wild, it gives a sense of what the dogs look like and their behavior. Also, when the girl is getting dressed, an image of her white gloves and shoe along with her “night-dark hair” is shown as imagery (line 17). Not only is there imagery in this stanza of the poem, but a few metaphors. The girl’s hair is being compared to the dark night, which also gives some foreshadowing of something bad that is about to come. The white gloves and shoes she is wearing, shows the young girl’s innocence. Finally at the end, there is a sense of irony for the mother. She wanted her daughter to go to the sacred church to avoid the dangerous freedom march. In the end, sending her daughter to the church was much more dangerous, but it was nothing the mother suspected to happen. When the mother arrived at the church, she could only find her daughter’s white shoe. She searched through the rubble of the churches’ bricks and glass, but also the rubble of where her daughter’s body rested. The white shoe that was recovered, was the symbol that her child’s innocence that was taken that day.

Randall, Dudley, and Dana Gioia. "Ballad of Birmingham." Backpack Literature an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J.
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