In the first stanza of the poem, the use of the word ‘child’ represents the innocence and lack of understanding African-American youth had on the issue of racial prejudice against blacks. The mother attempts to warn her child of the potential danger that would be at the Freedom March and explains, “‘clubs and hoses, guns and jails / Aren’t good for a little child.’” She believes that her daughter does not fully understand the implications of what the freedom march really is about. In this instance, the mother characterizes the status-quo of what has been the norm for many years; the segregation of African-Americans. While there had been opportunity to challenge their place in society, she is content with her life and the way things are. The daughter does not see the harm and explains, “But, mother, I won’t be alone. / Other children will go with me”. The use of ‘other children’ is the daughter’s claim that there are others of her age who share the same views of freedom and hope and want to make a change. She represents the youth and their eagerness to be a part of what is going on in society, even though some might see them as merely ‘children’ who don’t understand how their actions could impact the future.
In another part of the poem, the author uses the word church to show the importance of unity and familiarity in what has been. The mother insists that the daughter not go to the freedom marches and says, “But you may go to church instead/ And sing
Cited: Andrews, William L., Frances Smith. Foster, and Trudier Harris. The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. New York: Oxford UP, 1997. Print. Sullivan, James D. On the Walls and in the Streets: American Poetry Broadsides from the 1960s. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1997. Print. Whitt, Margaret. "Randall, Dudley." In Samuels, Wilfred D., ed. Encylopedia of African-American Literature. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom 's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc.