Essays and English Portfolio

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My English
Portfolio of Original
Essays and Reflective Writings
English 102.02 T/R 8:00 - 10:00

ENG 102.02
09/13/11
Tue-Thurs 8:05-10:05 PM
Essay #1

What if the places we think are safe, were no longer the sacred places of bliss we frequently run to? History has shown us that maybe, perhaps we are never truly safe anywhere. Dudley Randall’s Ballad of Birmingham intricately tells us how quickly are illusions of are false sense of security can be shattered in the blink of an eye. Randall shows us how the things we least expect can creep up on us and leave us bewildered and shocked with the situations we assume we are immune to. We will learn the characteristics of both Randall and the characters in his story. Character is defined as a person depicted in a narrative or drama. Character is revealed by how a character responds to conflict, by his or her dialogue, and through descriptions. Through all this the Ballad of Birmingham teaches us to have constant vigilance, even in places we consider sacred and out of harm's way. Racism can touch every aspect of our lives; we can assume that we will never escape it in any form until we can overcome its adversities together as a whole.

In the poem Randall begins with a young girl asking her mother for permission to attend a freedom march. “Mother dear, may I go downtown instead of out to play, and march the streets of Birmingham in a freedom march today.” (Randall, D. (1964) The Ballad of Birmingham, Madden, F. Exploring Literature P. 17) Many others describe the child brave in the beginning of this poem. She’s not scared to put herself in the obvious danger, or perhaps she envisions none. Many authors think of Randall in the same light. An article mentions the following of him, “Randall’s efforts at Broadside, initially run out of his house and financed largely by his salary as a librarian, inspired the creation of like institutions, notably Third World Press in Chicago and Lotus Press in Detroit.” (Smethurst, J.E. The journal of American History 91. (Mar 2005) 1546) Randall shows the same kind of bravery as the little girl in many ways. He was not afraid to stand up and create a black owned newspaper in dangerous segregated times. Perhaps some of himself is transferred into the little girl he so passionately wrote about.

Many others wrote about Randall and the affect, he, as a person, and the poem had on them. One writer stated this, “Dudley Randall was regarded as a man if integrity, dedication, sensitivity, creativity, industry and scholarship. He was a kind, gentle, and wonderful person who shared his imagination and resources to inspire all those who encountered them.” (Memoriam: “Roses and Revolution” Dudley Randall: Poet, publisher, critic, and champion of African American Literature leaves a legacy of immeasurable value, The Black Scholar 31. (Spring 2001): 55-57). This article widely talks about Randall and his accomplishments. Readers learn about how and where he grew up in Washington, DC. Readers also get a chance to learn and explore his home life with his family and siblings. We discover his teen years and how he wrote the Ballad of Birmingham and became the librarian that sparked a movement of black political poetry and news. Randall knew many famous authors such as Margaret Danner, Margaret Walker and the brilliant Robert Hayden. Overall readers discover that Dudley Randall was noted as a man of integrity and dedication. He was viewed as a man who always inspired hope and made the dreams of others realities. The article was very useful. It put Randall in exactly the light I viewed him in when I read The Ballad of Birmingham. It describes him as heroic and spot on with his unique qualities.

Melba Joyce Boyd wrote about Randall’s fierceness in the way he chose certain articles for his newspaper. He always wanted to showcase the best of black literature. When you read this article you learn about the type of poems Randall preferred. Boyd wrote,...
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