Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Ode to Justice

Academic journal article Southern Quarterly

Ode to Justice

Article excerpt

Birmingham, May 22, 2002

In Birmingham

not everyone

has lived

to see old.

Four girlfriends

were primping

Sunday morning

then the blood-soaked

explosion -

Addie Mae Collins

Cynthia Wesley

Carole Robertson

Denise McNair

it took 39 years

in America

to bring the

last of your

killers

to justice.

Like any

good old boy,

Bobby Frank Cherry

boasted

to his ex-wife

about lighting

the fuse

bragged

to his granddaughter

"he helped blow up

a bunch of niggers

back in Birmingham."

Only 39 years

for a jury

of his peers

3 blacks

9 whites

to say "guilty"

for life.

He's 71.

Addie Mae,

Cythnia and Carole,

You reached 14,

Denise,

11.

They say

justice is blind

disabled

39 years

but there arose

a celebration

on the streets

of Birmingham

outside the courthouse

for those who

had survived

the decades

for their

children's

children

Who stroll to church

with young ghosts

Addie Mae

Cynthia

Carole

Denise

who pray "rest

in peace,"

though

streets and hearts

still beat

divided. …

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