Study Guide

Having Our Say Part IV, Chapter 11: Sadie

By Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

Part IV, Chapter 11: Sadie

  • Because Raleigh is a "fairly liberal" area, the girls don't have much trouble with white people before Jim Crow—they're even friendly with the elderly Confederate veterans who hang around the city center (4.11.1).
  • One time, a pair of missionaries from the North gives them each fancy a china doll. Bessie pulls what we like to call a "Bessie" and paints her doll to match her own skin color.
  • Their favorite white person is Miss Grace Moseley, a young teacher at St. Aug's who is a true believer in racial equality. She reads them Shakespeare almost every night.
  • Things get weird after Jim Crow because most of the family is light-skinned enough to pass as white. One time, a white man is incredibly friendly to Nanny and Sadie before reacting in utter shock when Henry shows up.
  • Sadie's coping strategy is to "play dumb," bypassing restrictions by ignoring them, more or less (4.11.15). She learned from the best: her father

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