Going to Meet the Man


James Baldwin

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Going to Meet the Man Characters


Jesse, the protagonist of “Going to Meet the Man,” is a racist 42-year-old white police officer who lives with his wife Grace in the American South in the early 1960s. Part of Jesse’s job involves… read analysis of Jesse

Protest Leader

The protest leader is a college-aged Black man who lives in the same town as Jesse and has been leading protests in the area for at least the past year. He first met Jesse around… read analysis of Protest Leader

Jesse’s Father

Jesse’s father, married to Jesse’s mother, raised Jesse to become a racist like him. In an extended flashback, he mocks Black peoples’ singing in front of Jesse and teaches him to mistrust his Black… read analysis of Jesse’s Father

Lynching Victim

The lynching victim is a Black man who lived in Jesse’s town when Jesse was a child and was accused of attacking (and, mostly likely, raping) a white woman named Miss Standish. He tries… read analysis of Lynching Victim

Jesse’s mother

Jesse’s mother attends the lynching with a young Jesse and Jesse’s father, dressing up for the occasion. She is not as important as Jesse’s father in teaching Jesse how to be overtly racist—in fact… read analysis of Jesse’s mother
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Grace is a white Southern woman married to Jesse. Jesse is unable to stay erect while having sex with her and wishes he could ask her to do what he would ask a “nigger… read analysis of Grace


Otis is a Black child and one of Jesse’s friends when he was eight years old. Before the lynching, in a flashback, a young Jesse worries that he has not seen Otis for a… read analysis of Otis

Julia Blossom (“Old Julia”)

Julia Blossom is the grandmother of the protest leader and was one of Jesse’s customers when he worked for a mail-order business. Julia does not appear in the story, but she is a point… read analysis of Julia Blossom (“Old Julia”)