Ashley Leach---The "Ballad of Birmingham" poem has three speakers: a mother, a daughter, and the narrator. The tone of the ballad is at first concerning. The mother is concerned that the child will be shot or hurt while participating in a Freedom March. Instead the mother convinces the child to go to church and sing in the choir. The ballad then becomes very mournful when the church is blown up and the child can not be found. The theme of this ballad is that what you think may be safe may actually not be safe. The mother thought that church was a sacred and safe place as opposed to the streets. Ironically the church was not safe at all. There is no truly safe place. The reader is able to tell this is a ballad through a number of characteristics the poem contains. It is a story that contains multiple speakers. It is about common people and the common life. The fact that it has rhythm as well as rhyming also lets the reader know it is a ballad. Some other poetic devices that can be found in the ballad is the use of refrain. The term baby is frequently used. The part when the mother is dressing and bathing the child is an example of imagery. It paints a vivid picture in the readers head about what the child looks like.