In the novel A LESSON BEFORE DYING takes place October 1947 and April of 1948 in and around Bayonne, Louisiana. The town is fictional, but the way of life is very real. Grant, who is teacher in Bayonne, is asked to help a young African-American man on death row, Jefferson, to continue his education before he is executed. A Lesson Before Dying depicts the African American culture and the discrimination facing them, through the lenses of the justice system, mental illness, and power.
Throughout the text, Justice system plays a big role in the discrimination for African-Americans. At this instant Jefferson attorney is up to defend his client and he started off by saying, ‘’Do you see anyone here who could plan a murder, a robbery, can plan anything? A cornered animal to strike quickly out of fear, a trait inherited from his ancestors in the deepest jungle of blackest Africa--yes, yes, that he can do--but to plan? To plan, gentlemen of the jury? No, gentlemen, this skull here holds no plans” ( 7 ). These are the words from his lawyer that his supposed to be defending him in court. In the text he is calling Jefferson an idiot and saying he can’t think because he is African-American and they aren’t very smart…show more content… When Grant has to go see the sheriff about him helping Jefferson 's in jail. In that sense Grant talks about “I had come through that back door against my will, and it seemed that he and the sheriff were doing everything they could to humiliate me even more by making me wait on them” ( 46 ). This very quote shows how the white people could easily humiliated African-Americans by making them go through the back door instead of the front door. Then making them wait for hours and hours for a meeting. In summarize, there were many ways to discriminate against the people of color. Power, Justice System and Race were just a few example of how it was