In "Ballad of Birmingham" the poet illustrates a society whereby the people are trying to eliminate racial injustice. However, what is supposed to be a peaceful march for equal rights for all race turns out to be disaster for those who are fighting for their rights.
Irony is portrayed as the mothers choose to protect their children from the horror that could eventually occur by the demonstration, by keeping their children in the ‘sacred’ place but disaster meets them in the safe and secure environment.

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The mother who is speaking to her child in the second stanza outlines what is to be expected once chaos envelopes this peaceful march. The poet allows the parent to be fully aware of the eventual consequences of the "…Freedom March…" and although she tries to protect her child by making sure she was at church in the choir, a worse fate befalls the child, and many others.
The child has seemed to have prepared for the tragic ending as she prepares to goto church. The combing of her night dark hair represents the darkness or death and eventually takes place. It is almost as though the child is allowed by society, to ,for the last time, dress up. A grand preparation for death!
It is ironic to know that although the mother made sure her daughter did not go to the streets for the freedom march, it is in the street the she searches for her child. The sordid and unjust society is portrayed as the society shows no mercy or conscience in injuring and even killing those who has done no wrong.

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