Who is Jimmy Lyons in "The War of the Wall" by Toni Cade Bambara?

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kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The War of the Wall" by Toni Cade Bambara, Jimmy Lyons was a young man from the neighborhood where the narrator lives. He had gone off to fight in the Vietnam War and was killed. The kids had carved his name on the wall that the woman from New York was now painting. 

The children are not happy that this woman is painting the wall where they have played all their lives. They look at her as an outsider and want her to go away. She doesn't help anything with her attitude and demands, but the narrator's mother tells her and her cousin Lou, that the woman from New York just doesn't know any better.

In the end, the painter woman has created a mural on the wall--a mural that depicts many of the people in the community along with Civil Rights Movement leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and others. And there was an inscription:

"To the People of Taliaferro Street

I Dedicate This Wall of Respect

Painted in Memory of My Cousin

Jimmy Lyons" (Bambara 4)

 

Further Reading:
Read the study guide:
The War of the Wall

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