Injustice In Ernest Gaines A Lesson Before Dying

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Over the years, thousands of African Americans have been killed fighting for their justice and equality according to the Civil Rights Center in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1955 Emmett Till was killed by two white men who beat and shot him, there was a trial but the men were found innocent by an all-white jury. This is similar to what happens to Jefferson in A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines. Jefferson is accused of murdering a white man when he is just an innocent bystander. He has an unjust trial and is found guilty, his punishment is death by electrocution. During the 1800’s and 1900’s African Americans were treated as savages, none of them had a voice in what happened to them. Even though at the time racial injustice was common, it affects …show more content…

When he is arrested he is treated like what they call him a hog, an animal, but even though Jefferson didn’t do anything wrong he never had the time to plead his case. Grant tells Jefferson this “They sentenced you to death because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time, with no proof that you had anything at all to do with the crime other than being there when it happened.”(158). Grant is trying to tell Jefferson that since they can’t tell them that they are as equal as the whites are, they have to show them, he has to walk to that chair like a man and show them that they are not just animals but humans. The judge knows that there is no evidence but still calls Jefferson guilty and gets away with it. When the judge calls him guilty he has no emotion like throwing away a piece of trash. He says “The judge told Jefferson that he had been found guilty of the charges brought against him and that the judge saw no reason that he should not pay for the part he played in this horrible crime.” (9). At that time period, white people didn’t give it a second thought to treat a different race with respect, or to treat them any way other than an animal. The judge called him guilty, with no evidence proving that he had shot the three men and still got away with it. Jefferson knows that he was treated unjustly, but is hurt by the way …show more content…

Paul’s name is symbolic because Paul from the bible was bad but then he changed and became one of Jesus’ disciples. Paul becomes friends with Grant and Jefferson who he knows have been treated unjustly and stays with them through the whole thing. When he goes to see Jefferson executed he tells Grant “When Vincent asked him if he had any last words, he looked at the preacher and said ‘Tell nannan I walked.’ And Straight he walked Mr. Wiggins. Straight he walked. I’m a witness. Straight he walked.”(254) Paul is so emotionally struck because of how Jefferson had to die when he was nothing but an innocent bystander shows that he really cared about them and is so happy that he proved that he can be a man. In the 1800’s and 1900’s African-American’s were treated horribly, but Paul shows signs of friendship and that two different races can be friends. He says to Grant “‘Listen,’ he said ‘we might as well call each other by our names. You’re Grant, aren’t you’”(126). Paul is not the one that is getting treated unjustly but he is so affected by it throughout Grant and Jefferson that he wants to do something about it. Paul has a different mindset than the other white people, he can see past what the others see, he sees a normal person who is getting treated with unfairness, inequality, and

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