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During the last week of school for the Logans, Jeremy Simms confides that his brothers R.W. and Melvin donít treat T.J. very nicely. They bring him home and act friendly, but then talk about him and call him names when he leaves. Mama tells Cassie that maybe they keep T.J. around just so they can laugh at him and thus feel good themselves.
Money is getting shorter in the Logan home. Mama cuts back on the flour and baking powder for the corn bread. Mr. Jamison pays a brief visit just to let David know that the Wallaces have been talking about how theyíre "not going to let a few smart colored folks" ruin their business. They are threatening to put an end to the trips to Vicksburg. David should have already returned to his railroad job by now, but seems to be waiting for something.
One evening, Mr. Avery shows up to tell them that he will not be wanting them to fill the shopping list he had given them for the next trip to Vicksburg. Mr. Granger has raised the percentage of the cotton crop that he will be taking from them, and some of the other landowners are doing the same thing. The Grangers have also made threats about kicking the tenant farmers off the land if they continue shopping in Vicksburg, or even sending a sheriff after them and getting them assigned to a chain gang.
When Mr. Avery is gone, Stacey explodes over the men pulling out. He calls them a bunch of scared jackrabbits until Papa grabs him by the shirt and tells him to stop talking about things he knows nothing about. Papa understands the danger the tenant farmers brought on themselves by shopping in Vicksburg in the first place. His own children were born blessed because they have land of their own. Nevertheless, he vows that he will keep doing what he has to and will never give up.
The next day after finding out that seven families are still in the Vicksburg arrangement, Papa and Mr. Morrison make one more trip, this time taking Stacey with them. On the way home they discover that someone had loosened the bolts on the wagon wheels and both back wheels fall off at once. Papa in engaged in putting them back on when a truck pulls up behind them and stops. Because of the rain and thunder, they donít notice the truck at first, but then headlights come on. David grabs his gun, and the men fire on him, spooking the mule. The mule dashes off, pulling the wagon over Davidís leg. Mr. Morrison takes on all three men single handed, breaking bones and effectively convincing them to leave. David will now be unable to return to the railroad until his leg mends.
Stacey grows up a little more during this incident as he has to observe close up just how vulnerable his family and people really. When they fight back, they have to be careful to do so in a way that will leave the whites too embarrassed to tell people about it. Stacey feels partly to blame for his fatherís broken leg as he was holding the reins and was unable to restrain the mule. Mr. Morrison demonstrates his physical strength; his ability to act as a protector without acting rashly makes him a valuable part of the household-unlike Hammer who is likely to act without thinking of the consequences.