If You Come Softly

by Jacqueline Woodson

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Why did Jeremiah switch history classes, and why does he suspect it wasn't a coincidence?

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At the beginning of part 2, chapter 7, Jeremiah arrives in Ellie's history class, saying, "I've been transferred over from Mrs. Trosseau's class." He walks over to sit next to Ellie. Ellie whispers, "Why'd you get transferred?" and he tells her that the school made a mistake. They had put him in the remedial history class when his understanding of history is actually pretty good. Jeremiah isn't happy, because he says the school didn't even bother to test his knowledge. They assumed he wouldn't know anything because of his hair and the color of his skin, or, as he says, the "melanin thing." This upsets Ellie because she didn't think the world was like that anymore. She knows her family is like that, but "please not the rest of the world."

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