Study Guide

Having Our Say Part VI, Chapter 27: Sadie and Bessie

By Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

Part VI, Chapter 27: Sadie and Bessie

  • The sisters (along with their mother) move to a different apartment in Harlem. This is in the midst of World War II, so they also set up a small Victory Garden in an empty plot in the Bronx.
  • World War II takes its toll on the Delanys in a variety of ways. There are the little things, like the sugar shortage, which is like "a living hell" for Sadie and Bessie (6.27.5).
  • But there are bigger things too. While serving overseas, Manross saves the life of a white soldier, who tells him to visit his family in North Carolina. When he does, however, the kid's parents refuse to open the door.
  • Their nephew has a similar experience while attending boot camp in the South. He is arrested after talking back to "some white sergeant," and the experience breaks "his health and spirit" (6.27.12).
  • The war ends and the sisters make an important decision—they're moving to Harlem. They buy a house next to their garden and even have a porch installed! That's some good Southern style, if you ask us.
  • As Nanny ages, she becomes more and more absentminded. The sisters decide that one of them should stay home and care for her.

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