Chapter 7 Summary

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The narrator arrived at the bus station, bags and letters in tow, and bought a ticket to the city. Taking a seat in the designated section for Black riders at the back of the bus, he was surprised and dismayed to see one of the veterans from the Golden Day seated nearby with an attendant. The narrator sourly noted to himself that the vet represented an experience he’d really rather not remember but was encouraged that the attendant was someone he’d seen before—usually, he only accompanied the bar’s nonviolent patrons. The narrator learned that the veteran and his attendant were headed to Washington, DC, where the veteran was being admitted to a hospital for psychiatric patients.

The two eventually disembarked to transfer to the DC bus, and the narrator was left blissfully alone for the remainder of the ride. As they traveled across the New Jersey countryside, he found himself growing surprisingly and unexpectedly optimistic about his unplanned big-city adventure. He started daydreaming about meeting the important men to whom his references were addressed and making a good impression.

After arriving in New York and inquiring about how to get to Harlem, the narrator stepped onto a subway car for the first time. As the crowds poured in, he found himself inadvertently situated against a white woman. Terrified that there would be trouble, he was startled to realize she didn’t seem to notice or care. Exiting the car, he stopped to regroup and told himself that he was up north now, and this was a different world entirely.

Looking around, the narrator realized he had never seen so many Black people in one place. He noticed a Black policeman directing traffic, shocked to see the white drivers obeying him. As multiple men nearby engaged in an argument that nobody else seemed to notice or care about, he realized he had never seen this many Black men angry in public without consequence either.

Asking a nearby police officer for directions to Men’s House, the narrator realized he would need to take Harlem in slowly to avoid being overwhelmed.

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Chapter 6 Summary

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Chapter 8 Summary