In Bebe Moore's Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, what is Chapter 24 about?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Bebe Moore's Your Blues Ain't Like Mine is set in Hopewell, Mississippi, during the days of segregation. Her story particularly focuses on a white mob lynching a black teenager named Armstrong Todd and the impact both the lynching and racism have on the town members and Armstrong's family. The lynching is directed by Floyd Cox, a poor white man who owns a pool hall that blacks are allowed into. Armstrong has just moved from Chicago to live in Hopewell with his grandmother, and one day Floyd overhears Armstrong in the pool hall speaking to Floyd's wife named Lily in the French language. Armstrong's action infuriates Floyd for a few different reasons: (1) In the days of segregation, blacks were not socially permitted to speak to whites; (2) French is the language of the educated, and Floyd (being poor and uneducated) not only feels racist towards Armstrong but also feels jealous of Armstrong's abilities, abilities that Floyd feels only whites should have; and (3) naturally, Floyd feels jealous of the attention Armstrong receives from Floyd's wife. For all of these reasons, innocent Armstrong is murdered by Floyd and his mob.

Moore's novel continues to relay all of the problems associated with racism. In particular, the novel discloses that Loyd's wife Lily has a close fair-skinned friend named Ida Long, whom Lily is not permitted to associate with and Lily cannot understand why. Ida is not actually white; she's part black and part white, enough white to look very fair-skinned. Moore uses Chapter 24 to give the reader more information about Ida. The chapter opens with Ida walking past Armstrong's grandmother's house, where the lynching took place, and feeling her eyes well up with tears, even though it has been a year since the lynching and since Armstrong's grandmother consequently moved to Detroit. The chapter describes her "walking at a brisk pace, carrying five fried-chicken suppers to old Miss Rozelle, who ran a rooming house." It continues to describe how she started cooking meals as a means of earning extra money and even reflects on cultural differences between blacks and middle class whites, particularly differences in how children are treated. As the novel progresses, Ida learns and must come to grips with the fact that she is the daughter of Stonewall Pinochet, one of the town's greatest and most racist white men. 

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