Ned and Jimmy are two characters that Jane knows who have tried to help out the poor and wind up getting killed. Ned is Jane's adopted son. She and Ned escaped the plantation together and headed for Ohio in the beginning of the novel. Ned leaves Jane, obtains an education and then returns to be a teacher with his wife and children because he is committed to helping his people. He knows he may be killed for his efforts, but this is the only way he knows how to fight injustice. He is killed for his efforts. Jane always thought that Ned "was the one."
Towards the end of the novel, Jimmy is a young boy who is born on the pecan plantation. He is very bright, reads to Jane and tells her all about what is happening with her favorite baseball player, Jackie Robinson. Jane now thinks that Jimmy "is the one" that will fight for his people. When Jimmy grows up, it is during the Civil Rights movement and Jimmy is arrested, then later killed, for his part in the demonstrations. This is a turning point for Jane, who now realizes that SHE is the one. She can't just be waiting around for someone else to fight the battle. She must do her part.