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Matthew Antoine was Grant's elementary school teacher and previously the quarter's teacher, passes away before the novel begins.
"Sam Guidry, the sheriff, always tries to put Grant Wiggins in his place. He expects Grant to behave like a subordinate, telling Grant when Grant uses proper grammar and speaks intelligently that he’s too smart for his own good."
"Paul is the young deputy at the jail. When Miss Emma asks the older deputy how Jefferson is, and the older deputy says, “Quiet,” Miss Emma mistakes the response for a command that she be quiet."
Henri Pichot, is a white man who owns the plantation where Grant grew up. The school is now located on his plantation.
Joseph Morgan is the white superintendent of schools, like Henri Pichot, he is a racist.
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Matthew Antoine was Grant's teacher when Grant was a student in Bayonne. A mulatto, Antoine was bitter about staying in Bayonne and trying to teach students he regarded as hopeless. Their only hope, he said, was flight: leave St. Raphael Parish.
Sheriff Guidry is the main law enforcement officer in the novel; he has control over the jail and carefully monitors Grant's visits with Jefferson to see how long he stays and what Jefferson's behavior is. The sheriff doesn't believe Grant can make a difference for Jefferson.
Paul Bonin is a deputy who is especially kind to Grant, and they eventually develop a friendship. Paul even drives out to the school to inform Grant about Jefferson's execution, telling Grant that Jefferson was a man.
Henri Pinchot is the wealthy plantation owner and the sheriff's brother-in-law; both Miss Emma and Tante Lou used to work for his family. He helps them gain permission for Grant to visit Jefferson.
Dr. Joseph Morgan is the superintendent of schools who visits Grant's school. He is more concerned with the children's state of cleanliness and the condition of their teeth than he is with their lack of adequate textbooks. He insists that Grant place more emphasis on drilling the Pledge of Allegiance and on hygiene.
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