Anne has been working as a CORE volunteer registering people to vote in Madison County in rural Mississippi. In her work, she sees firsthand the fear that prevents some African Americans from voting, and she also understands their desperation. She feels that the leaders, such as Martin Luther King, do not understand the reality on the ground. Many of the people in rural Mississippi are so poor that they aren't concerned about voting; they are instead concerned simply with survival and where their next meal is coming from. They also struggle to buy clothing to wear.
Anne attends the March on Washington in 1963 in which Dr. Martin Luther King gives his famous "I Have a Dream Speech." She thinks that "in Canton we never had time to sleep, much less dream" (335). In other words, the lives of rural African Americans in Mississippi are so difficult that they can't afford to think about the loftier goals of the movement. The leaders of the movement are distanced from this reality, and she feels that they are out of touch.