Today, I bring poetry and a speech to the day of murderous insanity that demonstrated the height of the evilness that had infected racial hatred on a Sunday morning in Birmingham, Alabama. I read a poem by Thomas Merton, about a girl and her white doll baby. I read the Ballad of Birmingham written by Thomas Dudley. Then I conclude my poetry reading with a series of poems by Langston Hughes, Four Little Girls, Dreams, and Let America Be America. Then I close out my salute by reading a powerful speech given by a white Birmingham attorney Charles B. Morgan, the day after the murderous act of terror at the 16th Street Baptist Church.
On September 16, 1963, just a day after white terrorists bombed a Birmingham church, killing four Black girls, Charles Morgan, a young, white Alabama lawyer, gave this speech at the Birmingham Young Men’s Business Club to an audience representing the white establishment of Birmingham.
Morgan and his family were made to flee Birmingham after the brave lawyer’s remarks.