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Word Count: 4,805
The narrators grandparents were freed slaves who believed they were separate but equal after the Civil War His grandfather lived a meek and quiet life after being freed However on his deathbed he tells the narrators father that the lives of black Americans are a war and that he himself feels like a traitor He counsels the narrators father to undermine the whites with yeses and grins He advises his family to agree em to death and destruction His grandfathers dying words haunt the narrator He lives meekly like his grandfather Like him the narrator receives praise from the white members of his town but feels troubled that his grandfather branded such meekness as treachery On his graduation day he delivers a speech preaching humility and submission as the key to the advancement of black Americans The speech is such a success that the town arranges to have him deliver it at a gathering of the communitys leading white citizens He arrives and is told to take part in the battle royal that figures as part of the evenings entertainment The narrator and some of his classmates don boxing gloves and enter the ring A naked blond white woman with an American flag painted on her stomach parades about as the white men demand that they look at her Afterwards the white men blindfold the youths and order them to viciously pummel one another The narrator is defeated in the last round After they remove the blindfolds the contestants are led to a rug covered with coins and a few crumpled bills They lunge for the money only to discover that the rug is electrified The white men attempt to force the victims to fall face forward onto the rug during the mad scramble
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