Lesson Before Ding

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In the last parts of the novel, Grant gets into a fight in a bar because there were white men talking negatively about Jefferson. Later, Grant visits Jefferson for one last time and the children from his school also come along with him. Grant gives Jefferson a notepad before Jefferson's execution so that he may write down his thoughts. The book ends off with Jefferson being noted as the strongest man in the execution room. As Grant waits for the news about Jefferson's execution he says "Don't tell me to believe. Don't tell me to believe in the same God or laws that men believe in who commit these murders. Don't tell me to believe that God can bless this country and that men are judged by their peers. Who among his peers judged him? Was I there? Was the minister there? Was Farreal Jarreau? Was my aunt? Was Vivian? No, his peers did not judge him - and I will not believe."

(P.251) This is an important quote because when Grant mentions "peers", he is talking about the black community. Grant notes that the black community is not a part of Jefferson's jury rather, 12 white men are selected as the jury. Therefore, Grant is noting the injustice of having a non-racially diverse jury. Grant is expressing that the verdict that is reached by the 12 white is unjust because it does not represent a collective view of justice from all margins of societies. When Grant is talking about "believing in the same laws that men believe in" he is saying that white people make these laws. "These laws commit murders" because it is the white people and their laws that is sending innocent black people, like Jefferson to die. Another important quote is when Grant says, "Yet they must believe. They must believe, if only to free the mind, if not the body. Only when the mind is free has the body a chance to be free. Yes, they must believe, they must believe. Because I know what is means to be a slave. I am a slave." (P. 251) The body surrounds the inner mind; therefore, the body symbolizes society while the mind symbolizes the individual identity. Grant says he is a slave because he feels like he is a victim of society by adopting the white culture and therefore, he cannot break through the body. Grant believes that if the mind (being the individual) can be strong it can break through the injustice and discrimination that is created by society (the body). At the end of the book, Paul, the white deputy officer says, "Allow me to be your friend, Grant Wiggins. I don't ever want to forget this day. I don't ever want to forget him. I took his hand. He held mine with both of his." (P.251) Throughout the book, everyone's been calling Jefferson a "hog" or a "nigger". He is now recognized as the bravest man. With this happening it means that Jefferson stood up and therefore the whites do not treat them likes slaves. The shaking of the hands is further a sign of hope for equality. By holding hands, it means that there is unity between the blacks and the white.