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The Logans are in the field picking cotton when Papa appears coming down the road. He is home unexpectedly and has brought a guest, Mr. Morrison, with him. Mr. Morrison has lost his job on the railroad for fighting with white men; he says it was the white menís fault, but, of course, they did not lose their jobs. Cassie senses that Mr. Morrison is there for some reason other than a job.
After church the next day, Cassie listens to the adults as they exchange the neighborhood gossip. One of the Berry men have died; Mrs. Lanier says that the whole incident happened when the Berrys pulled up to a gas pump next to some white men and Henrietta Toggins claimed that one of the Berry men had been flirting with her daughter. The men chased the Berrys dragged them out of a house and set fire to them. As if changing the subject, Papa announces that the Logan family doesnít shop at the Wallace store which is where most of the sharecroppers do their shopping. Papa says that the Wallaces have been selling bootleg liquor to kids and that he doesnít want his children hanging around the Wallaces.
Taylor uses the church meeting and front porch chat as devices to tell what actually happened to the Berrys although she does not yet reveal who is responsible. Mr. Morrison is introduced as a "human tree in height," taller even that David Logan who is over 6 feet himself. Mary Logan also implies that things are going on which have not been revealed to the children, thus creating some foreshadowing for future crises.