Chapter 22 Summary

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Returning to the office after the service, the narrator found Brother Jack and the others waiting for him. They asked for a report on how the service went, and he realized they hadn’t been in attendance. As he gave them an informal report, he became increasingly frustrated by their disinterest in honoring Clifton. He had given a race traitor the funeral of a hero, they insisted.

Upset, the narrator defended Clifton’s right to exist as a contradictory man and still be honored in death, noting that selling obscene dolls was a minor transgression in comparison to shooting and killing an unarmed man. Further, he reminded the group that Clifton was shot because he was a Black man, not because the police knew of his Brotherhood affiliation.

The argument continued to escalate. When Brother Tobitt, a white group member, insisted that he had commensurate authority in this matter because he was married to a Black woman, he and the narrator nearly had a physical altercation. Infuriated at his assertions over racism toward Clifton being dismissed by a group of white men, the narrator told them that the Brotherhood had failed to lead the community in action and that the community was angry. Brother Jack attempted yet again to deflect, telling the narrator that their job was to tell people what to think, not to listen to them.

With a dramatic flourish, Brother Jack punctuated his point by dropping something into his water glass on the table. Shocked, the narrator realized it was a glass eye, and Jack had removed it from his own face as an intimidation tactic. Laughing at the narrator’s startled reaction, Jack told him he didn’t know the meaning of sacrifice.

Jack told the narrator to go back to see Brother Hambro again and to control his temper. His anger, he told him, should be saved for their enemies.

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Chapter 21 Summary

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Chapter 23 Summary