In the poem "The Ballad of Birmingham," what are the obvious types of social conflicts?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Randall's "The Ballad of Birmingham," the obvious social conflict is racial discrimination.  In the poem, there is a reference to a freedom march which is an allusion to the freedom marches led by civil rights leaders in the 1960's.  The speaker's mother tells the child not to go...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In Randall's "The Ballad of Birmingham," the obvious social conflict is racial discrimination.  In the poem, there is a reference to a freedom march which is an allusion to the freedom marches led by civil rights leaders in the 1960's.  The speaker's mother tells the child not to go out because the streets will be dangerous and suggests that the child instead go to the church.  Ironically, the church is bombed and a mother looks for her missing child, only finding her shoe. 

The poem is a reference to the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.  The church had been used as a meeting point for civil rights activities and a starting point for student marches.  That morning, many children were in the basement of the church for prayer; in the bombing four girls were killed.  A group of Ku Klux Klan members planted sticks of dynamite in the church; their actions were obviously instigated by racial hatred.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team