The Roses of Birmingham
Thomas Gardner Jr.
Thomas Gardner’s dedication to memorializing civil rights icons through poetry has earned him the title, “Birmingham civil rights poet.” On Sept. 15, 1963, Gardner was blocks away from the 16th Street Baptist Church when an explosion claimed the lives of four young girls attending Sunday School. Hours later, Gardner was devastated to learn the identities of the victims.
In a poetic tribute to his friends and classmates lost in the bombing, Gardner reflects: “It seared the consciousness of a nation. It touched the marrow in our bones. But it stiffened our spines to face down tyranny – the hoses, dogs and stones.”