Study Guide

Ballad of Birmingham Stanza 3

By Dudley Randall

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Stanza 3

Lines 9-12

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

  • The child is speaking again. She knows that other children attend the marches—which gives us a sense of the solidarity behind these marches. As well, she believes being in this company will make her more safe.
  • So, why does she want to march? "To make [her] country free," she says. And she was right: the marches in Birmingham were instrumental to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One last thing before we go: who is this girl? We don't have a name or much else to go by, and we're nearly halfway done with the poem. 
  • Her anonymity is no accident, though. Randall is giving a voice to a child that can represent many children; we aren't given too many specifics, or even her name, for this reason.

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