Describe how the "Store" came into existence in the book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "Store" had its beginnings early in the twentieth century, when Marguerite's grandmother, whom she calls "Momma", sold lunches to the sawmen in the lumberyard in the eastern part of Stamps, and to seedmen at the cotton gin in the western part of the city.  She was very efficient at working both sites at the same time, and her meat pies were delicious!  After awhile, Momma set up a stand at the halfway point between the lumberyard and the cotton gin, and she "supplied the workers' needs" in that way for a few years.  Momma's next endeavor was to build the Store "in the heart of the Negro area", and as years passed, it became the "lay center of activities in town".  On Saturdays, barbers would set up shop in the shade of the Store's porch, and traveling musicians often stopped there to play for the gathered "regulars".

The actual name of the "Store" was "the Wm. Johnson General Merchandise Store".  Included in its inventory were food staples, household necessities like thread, coal oil, lightbulbs, shoestrings, and hair dressing, and outdoor items including mash for hogs, corn for chickens, and flower seeds (Chapter 1).

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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