Nine Year Old Cassie Logan Heads To School On Her First Day

1513 words - 6 pages

Nine-year-old Cassie Logan heads to school on her first day with her brothers, twelve-year-old Stacey, seven-year-old Christopher-John, and six-year-old Little Man. The four children, Papa, Mama, and their grandmother Big Ma, are a black family living in Mississippi. The family owns four hundred acres of land, half of it is mortgaged, and Papa must work half the year on the railroad far away to pay for it. Mr. Granger, whose family owned the land during slavery times, wants to buy it back and constantly threatens to take it from them. On the way to school, a thirteen year old troublemaker, TJ Avery , and his younger brother Claude tell how the Berrys, three black men, were burned, and killed by two white men. A white boy, Jeremy Simms, starts to walk with them. He goes to the white Jefferson Davis County School while they go to Great Faith Elementary. At school, Cassie and Little Man get in trouble with the teacher, Miss Crocker. Papa returns unexpectedly from the railroad with a very big and strong man named Mr. Morrison, who got into a fight with some white men and lost his job on the railroad. He was going to be staying with the Logans. Every day in October, the children walk to school in the rain and mud and get splashed by the bus driver of the white school's bus. After being forced off the road into a muddy ditch, Stacey talks his sibblings into digging a whole across the road at lunchtime to make it look like the road was flooded. After school, they watch from the forest as the bus drives into it, breaking its axle, flooding its engine, and leaving the white students without a bus for two weeks. Later, the children hear that the "night men" are out. Cassie sees cars approach the house in the middle of the night and then turn around. Later, TJ tells him they tarred and feathered a black man, Sam Tatum, for accusing Jim Lee Barnett,a white man of cheating him. Stacey takes the blame when he's caught with TJ's cheat-notes during a test and is whipped by Mama. He follows TJ to the Wallace's store, where he's not allowed to go, and punches TJ, before Mr. Morrison catches him and brings him home. There, Mr. Granger has just finished threatening to take the land from Big Ma. Stacey confesses to Mama, who punishes the four children for going to the store by taking them to see Mr. Berry, who was burned so badly he can no longer speak. Mama begins to arrange a boycott of the Wallace and Barnett stores. Big Ma takes Stacey, Cassie, and TJ to the market in Strawberry. While Big Ma talks to Mr. Jamison, a friendly white attorney, TJ looks at a pistol in the store. When Mr. Barnett is serving white customers, Cassie tries to remind him that they are still there, he calls her a "little nigger," then throws her out of the store for arguing with him. In the street, Cassie bumps into Jeremy's sister Lillian Jean and is forced by Mr. Simms to say, "I'm sorry, Miss Lillian Jean." Uncle Hammer comes to visit...

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