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by Ralph Ellison
Brother Tod Clifton Timeline and Summary
Clifton arrives late to a Brotherhood meeting. He has a cut on his face and says that he had a scuffle with Ras the Exhorter. Clifton supports the narrator's idea of strengthening the fight against evictions in Harlem. Ras's men crash the Brotherhood's first street speech. Clifton gets in a fight with Ras and is almost stabbed by his knife. Clifton hears Ras call him a slave to the white enslavers of the Brotherhood, calling him a traitor to the black community. Clifton responds with his fists. Clifton doesn't recognize someone who's in the Brotherhood and gets in a fight with him. Clifton goes missing for weeks. Clifton stands on the street corner peddling a paper Sambo doll that he puppeteers with an invisible string. He claims that the doll will bring joy to people's lives. Clifton runs around the corner when the police arrive. He continues to stay one step ahead of them until he throws a series of punches. Clifton is shot by a police officer. He falls forward, bleeding on the ground for the public to see. The narrator holds a public funeral for Clifton that attracts black supporters from all of Harlem.