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When Mrs. Lee Annie announces that she is going to go down to the registrar n her birthday and try to register to vote, her family and friends desperately try to talk her out of it. They are terrified of the potential consequences of her planned action, and realistically know that there is virtually no chance that she will be successful in her endeavor because of the hatred of the white establishment towards the black population. Mrs. Lee Annie is determined, however, and asks Mama if she will go with her. Even if Mama should decline, Mrs. Lee Annie will go by herself.
After much soul-searching and deliberation, Mama, Cassie, and Mrs. Ellis go with Miss Lee Annie to the registrar's office on her birthday, January second. The woman working in the registrar's office is incredulous when Mrs. Lee Annie announces her intention, and fetches Mr. Boudein, the registrar, who immediately sends for Mr. Granger, who owns the land she sharecrops. Mr. Granger tries to talk Mrs. Lee Annie out of doing what she has set her mind to do, telling her that "voting is white folks' business," and something in which she has no right to meddle. Mrs. Lee Annie is insistent, however, and, distracted by other problems, Mr. Granger tells the registrar to let her take the test; even though Mrs. Lee Annie has studied long and hard and knows more about the intricacies of the constitution than most any white voter does, Mr. Granger is confident that the registrar will not pass her. Mr. Boudein is downright insulting in expressing his bigoted belief that "this here's plumb foolishness...can't no darky understand the complexities of the constitution. Ain't got the sense for it." The irony is that Mrs. Lee Annie does in fact understand the constitution very well, but because the white people have the power, she will still not be able to vote.
With the odds stacked ridiculously against her, Mrs. Lee Annie does indeed fail the test. In the aftermath of her attempt to register, Mr. Granger tells her and Mrs. Ellis to pack up their things and be off his land "'fore the sun rise in the morning" (Chapter 13).
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