Study Guide

Cherry Bello in A Gathering of Old Men

By Ernest J. Gaines

Cherry Bello

One of the folks living near what Mat calls "Mulatto Place," Alfred "Cherry" Bello runs a small liquor and grocery store, and is a member of the Black community at Marshall who is of mixed ancestry. That's what the term "mulatto" means: being part Black and part white—but it's an old, outdated term that nobody really uses (or should use) anymore. It's through Cherry that we first meet some of the other men we'll hear more from later, like Billy, Dirty Red, and others. 

His chapter in the book also shows us the place near Marshall that members of the Black community there use as a cemetery which, in more ways than one, is one of the most important symbols in Gaines's novel. Just take a look at the section in "Symbols" to see what we mean.