At the start of the new school year, Miss Crocker makes the startling announcement that the students are going to have books. Nothing strange about that, one might think. But given that this is a Black school in the Deep South, it's quite a big deal.
Even so, there's a catch. The books provided for the students are old and second-hand, as they are no longer required by white children. The black students at the school are being given white children's cast-offs.
Mama Logan, who's a teacher in the seventh grade, is none too happy about this, so she pastes white sheets of paper on the inside cover of textbooks to hide the list of issuances that show that Black children only get such books when they're in very poor condition. By taking such action, Mama is trying to prevent her students from being humiliated every time they open a book in class.
Eventually, Mama is fired from her teaching job. Mama says that someone told the school board about her pasting over the inside covers of textbooks. But she's not convinced that that's the real reason she was shown the door. She believes it's because the Logans boycotted the Wallace store and started shopping in Vicksburg instead.
The Logans took this stand after one of the Wallaces burned some Black men, killing one of them. But this act of bravery has been used against them by the school board in a monumental act of spite.