What are some meaningful quotes in the book Jubilee?
One quote I always remember from Jubilee is "Right now I'd rather make a good run than a bad stand." Randall Ware says this in response to being assumed a coward by Henry McNeil Turner. Bishop Turner initially had the opinion that Congress would do the right thing and set forth an investigation into the crimes of the KKK.
Having already been beaten by the KKK and essentially forced to sell his land to a white man, Ware does not have the same confidence in his government that Turner does. He would rather leave politics and have people call him a coward for it than stay and be killed.
A constructed/stereotypical narrative that surrounds the perception of the African American identity is the idea that, born from the terrors of slavery, an African American man or woman can stand anything—that no matter what happens, they can make it through.
This narrative is fundamentally dehumanizing. African American people can't be expected to make it through a mob of white people ambushing and killing them. Additionally, it is this ideology that "a black person will make it through anything you put them through" that pushed so many slave owners to abuse their slaves.
You can't expect a person who has already been through great trauma to be willing to put their life on the line any time the chance comes up. Randall Ware sees that his government has allowed slavery to go on for a long time and has done close to nothing to protect the rights and wellbeing of black people, free or enslaved. So, he makes his own personal choice to stay alive.
Yes, fighting is brave. But protecting yourself is not cowardly.
A memorable line for me in Margaret Walker's novel Jubilee is at the very end of the novel when Vyry has arrived at her new home: "Vyry stood and looked over the red-clay hills of her new home where the shadows of the tall pine trees were following the sun to darkness and to sleep." The imagery in the line creates a tone of warmth which heightens the feelings that the reader already has for Vyry as her journey comes to an end. The reader rejoices with Vyry because Vyry has come out of slavery, the war and all its tribulations, and the ardous trek to find a new home. Vyry is now in a place where she is in charge of her own destiny, and the setting of the sun suggests the end of times past and the coming dawn of a new reality for Vyry and her family.