Winter is coming and since the church/school is only heated by one wood-burning oven the students' families take turns sending wood in for fuel.
Two old men, Henry Lewis and Amos Thomas, bring the first load. That afternoon Grant sends the older boys out to chop it up into firewood.
He remembers when he himself was a boy in that same school, chopping the wood with his classmates. Now all of those boys are dead or in prison. Oh, that's bleak.
Grant also remembers Matthew Antoine, his own teacher, who had been a bitter man. He was biracial, and was angry about his race and about his destiny to be stuck on the plantation. Life was super-tough, and super-confusing for biracial people back in the day because they were often excluded from black and white communities.
He told the students that they should run away.
Since Grant didn't run away, but rather went off to the university and came back to teach, Mr. Antoine seemed to hate him even more.
One day Grant visited Mr. Antoine, who was sick. He told him that there is nothing but ignorance in their world and that Grant would just be the "n***** he was born to be."
When he finally was ready to start teaching, Grant asked Mr. Antoine for advice. He told him to try his best, but that it wouldn't matter.