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Addy Studies Freedom

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Addy Studies Freedom is part of the Short Stories collection, focusing on Addy Walker.

Characters

Only in Addy Studies Freedom

Story Summary

Addy Studies Freedom 1

Addy works on her paper about freedom

Addy and Sarah are coming home from Sixth Street School. Addy is excited; since the war has been ended this past Sunday, Poppa is going south to look for Esther, Sam, Auntie Lula, and Uncle Solomon. That Sunday there had been a citywide party (and Addy's birthday celebration as well). Miss Dunn has given the whole class an assignment to write a one-page paper about the end of the war and what freedom meant to them. Addy and Sarah discuss that while blacks may be free, they are not free to go anywhere they choose. Some people in the streets have fanciful ideas about what the end of the war means--money in the streets and improvement of life everywhere.

After Addy and Sarah part ways, Addy notices all the happy people around her glad for the war's end. She feels like she's been focused on freedom forever, and is having jumbled thoughts about her paper. Before supper, she sits down and starts on her paper. She writes about how there is no more slavery and her family is free, but that there's separate freedoms for whites and blacks and that she hopes there can be one freedom for everyone and that President Lincoln can help it come to be.

Addy Studies Freedom 2

Addy gets the news about Lincoln's death

The next morning, Addy gets up after her parents leave for work. Her mother has left her a note to go to the butcher and get five cents of neckbones on their account, as the church is having a day dedicated to Lincoln. Addy is surprised to find the shop nearly empty as it is normally very busy on Saturdays. One woman is there--Mrs. Andersen--and she's so upset she's crying. The butcher mentions how Lincoln was such a nice man, and Mrs. Andersen says there will be war again and this time it might get all the way to Philadelphia. She frightens Addy before leaving. Addy asks the butcher if the war has started again and he says no, just that Mrs. Andersen thinks so because the president has died. He informs her that Lincoln had been shot in Washington, D.C. and died that morning. Addy bolts out of the grocer, not even bothering to get what she came for. Addy runs to Mrs. Ford's dress shop, now seeing people somber and some even crying. Mrs. Ford's is locked up, so she runs to the boarding house. She enters to find the adults talking along with Momma and Poppa. There is debate among them about what benefit blacks received from Lincoln, if any. Addy asks if the war will start again and Momma says no, but Addy is not assured. She becomes more and more upset until her mother says that the "grown-folk" talk is upsetting her and sends her up to their room to rest. Addy feels this isn't just grown folk talk and fears for what will happen.
Addy Studies Freedom 3

Momma reassures Addy

There is no celebration at church; instead, Reverend Drake preaches on Lincoln, comparing him to Moses who saw the promised land but never entered it, and speaks about how there is a time for everything.

The entire next week, the city mourns; Addy is given the week off from school and so goes with Momma to the dress shop. Momma and Mrs. Ford are busy adding black ruffles to mourning clothing. The coming weekend President Lincoln's body will arrive; that Saturday will be a procession and he will lay in the State House for the public on Sunday. Saturday, Addy and her family dress in their best clothes and go to watch the procession from the roof of his new place of employment along with his boss, Mr. Roberts. It is nearly dark when the funeral wagon is brought by them. Momma cries as it passes and Mt. Roberts speaks on him seeing Lincoln at his inauguration four years ago. Addy is upset as she had hoped Lincoln could have made one freedom, but with his death that is no longer possible.

At five in the morning Sunday, Addy and Poppa make their way to the State House; Momma was feeling sick and could not go with them. The lines are very long to get into the state house, and people are restless and irritable. One woman insists on leaving the line and people start pushing and shoving violently, nearly causing a panic. The line pulses forward and Addy is separated from Poppa. She tries to find him in a dizzy panic and is suddenly picked up by a white man Poppa's age and given room to breathe. Moments later Poppa makes his way back to Addy. The soldiers make everyone line up again and Poppa thanks the man for helping Addy. The man says that Addy will remember this day her whole life and in the process calls her father "sir." Poppa's face lights up at the simple show of respect.
Addy Studies Freedom 4

Addy and Poppa see Lincoln's body

Addy and Poppa make their way into the statehouse around suppertime and quickly file past Lincoln's body. Addy thinks to herself that his face is most serene one she's seen all week. On the way home, Poppa says that Lincoln is finally at peace. Addy remembers what Reverend Drake said and feels that Lincoln is like Moses, but that the promised land isn't here as blacks don't have freedoms like whites do. Poppa says that freedom doesn't come all at once, but that Lincoln has led the way and now people must follow. Addy thinks on the many whites who have helped her family including the man from today, and feels some people are heading in the right direction towards freedom for all.

Meet The Author

Connie Porter remarks on how she was young when President Kennedy was assassinated and how it upset her parents and her in a small way.

Looking Back: The Death of Lincoln

Discusses the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Topics covered:

  • Lincoln's acts in office, from declaring war upon the South to signing the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • John Wilkes Booth, an actor and southern sympathizer who felt that Lincoln was giving Black people too much freedom.
  • Booth shooting Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, with Lincoln living through the night and dieing the next morning.
  • Lincoln's funeral and funeral train, which went along the reverse route Lincoln had taken to Washington
  • The funeral procession in Philadelphia, which was considered as one of the grandest processions.
  • People having to wait in long lines in order to see Lincoln's body at Independence Hall, with some lines experiencing difficulties.
  • Worries among people about the war starting again and the after effects of his death, resulting in Lincoln's values to live on after his death.

Activity: Learn About Lincoln

The book contains a small quiz about Lincoln's life and gives titles of more books to read about him.

Trivia

  • This is one of the few books that can be accurately pinned down to a specific period in time; the dates are accurate and match exactly what happened historically.

References

  1. Text, pg 1; the story starts on a Friday afternoon after the end of the Civil War, which had ended that Sunday.

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