What are the main points of chapter 16 of The Help by Kathryn Stockett?

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In chapter 16 is one that is narrated by Aibileen.  She is quite involved in the telling of her story and wants to get more maids involved with Miss Skeeter in the telling of their stories for the book.  She knows that she will have to be the "front person" because it is a bit too risky for Minny to do it, and Miss Skeeter is a white woman whom the black maids who have immediate suspicions of.  Aibileen is well-respected within her community and so the job falls to her.

This chapter takes place in the immediate aftermath of the murder of Medgar Evers.  This event has charged up the black community to protest the unjust actions of the men who shot him in the back, and to the white community in general.  The chapter opens with Aibileen attending a church prayer meeting.  At first the congregation is praying for the deceased and his family, but the tone of the meeting changes when some in the crowd start to ask "what we plan to do about it?"  The Deacon calmly says they will peacefully march in Jackson, and may join Doctor King in his march in Washington in August, but that isn't good enough for some of the crowd.  It leaves everyone present with a lot to think about.  Clearly, times are changing for the blacks and whites of Jackson, Mississippi.

After the prayer meeting, Aibileen approaches Yule May who is one of the most educated of the black maids in the community.  She attended college and almost graduated.  She has two children who will be attending college in the fall.  When Aibileen tells her about the writing project with Miss Skeeter, Yule May is hesitant because she has a lot of financial concerns with her children's education and can't afford to lose her job, but Aibileen knows that this project will appeal to the intellectual/writer side of Yule May, who actually can't resist the idea of being included.  Aibileen has succeeded in getting another maid's voice into the book!

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