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Ballad of Birmingham Summary & Analysis
by Dudley Randall

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Dudley Randall first published "Ballad of Birmingham" as a broadside in 1965. The poem was written in response to the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which had a predominantly Black congregation and was targeted by white supremacists on September 15, 1963. Four young Black girls were killed in the explosion, and 22 other congregants were injured. This attack was set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and the efforts of leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to end segregation in the United States and, more specifically, in southern states like Alabama. As the title suggests, the poem is a ballad, meaning that it uses common meter and an ABCB rhyme scheme.

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