Chapter 21 Summary

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Arriving back at the office, the narrator found a group of youth members awaiting news of Brother Tod Clifton. Unable to muster the strength to tell them, the narrator kept flashing back to Clifton’s dolls and his revulsion to them. Avoiding the youth members, he took refuge in his office. Taking one of the paper dolls out of his pocket, he tossed it on the desk and was disgusted by the thought that anybody should have had to die for something so repulsive. If he’d only started a fight with Brother Clifton himself first, he contemplated, they might both have simply been arrested, and his friend’s life could have been spared.

The youth members arrived at the narrator’s office door and asked if the rumors of Clifton’s death were true. The narrator confirmed it, and many of the members started to cry. Hoping to divert them from losing hope, he told them it was time to fight.

The narrator channeled his grief into organizing a funeral for Clifton. Settling on a municipal park instead of a church, they organized a march in the hopes of drawing public attention to the Brotherhood and the senseless death of their friend. At the service, the narrator delivered a speech about Brother Clifton and the persistent tragedy of young Black lives undervalued and cut short. Throughout the speech, he felt palpable tension and noted that it must be used for something before it dissipated.

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Chapter 20 Summary

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Chapter 22 Summary