The Ballad of Birmingham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Ballad of Birmingham is a 1969[1] poem by Dudley Randall. It was written in response to the 1963 bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The poem was set to music by Jerry Moore in 1973.

Dudley Randall’s Ballad of Birmingham describe an African-American mother and her daughter conversing about a “Freedom March” in the streets of Birmingham. The young child asks permission to participate in the march, but her mother objects and describes the dangers of going to the freedom marchers. Instead, she is sent to church, which is perceived to be a place of safety. Soon, after the daughter leaves for church, an explosion is heard. The mother unfortunately discovers that her daughter’s life has been taken from her in one violent act of racism. Consequently, the mother must accept reality and cope with the loss of her child.


  1. ^ Randall, Dudley. "Ballad of Birmingham." Literature: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Janet E. Gardner et al. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford, 2009. 588-589. ISBN 978-0-312-46186-7