Going to Meet the Man

by

James Baldwin

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Big Jim C. Symbol Analysis

Big Jim C. Symbol Icon

Big Jim C.—a police offer who tortures Black civil rights protestors alongside Jesse—symbolizes the violence of the Jim Crow laws that upheld racial segregation in the U.S. South from the 1870s through 1965. Big Jim C. is introduced near the beginning of the story when Jesse tells Grace about his day, describing how Black protestors had formed a line at the courthouse to register to vote and “wouldn’t stay where Big Jim C. wanted them to.” This is a nod to the way that Jim Crow physically limited where Black people were allowed to go, requiring them to use “Colored” bathrooms, water fountains, and more. Despite the fact that Jesse and Big Jim C. beat the protestors and throw them in jail, the protestors continue to sing their songs of resistance, signifying the era of equality that is to come.

Big Jim C. Quotes in Going to Meet the Man

The Going to Meet the Man quotes below all refer to the symbol of Big Jim C.. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Going to Meet the Man published in 1995.
Going to Meet the Man Quotes

“They had this line you know, to register”—he laughed, but she did not—“and they wouldn’t stay where Big Jim C. wanted them, no, they had to start blocking traffic all around the court house so couldn’t nothing or nobody get through, and Big Jim C. told them to disperse and they wouldn’t move, they just kept up that singing, and Big Jim C. figured that the others would move if this nigger would move, him being the ring-leader, but he wouldn’t move and he wouldn’t let the others move, so they had to beat him and a couple of the others and they threw in the wagon…”

Related Characters: Jesse (speaker), Protest Leader
Related Symbols: Big Jim C., Singing
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:
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Going to Meet the Man PDF

Big Jim C. Symbol Timeline in Going to Meet the Man

The timeline below shows where the symbol Big Jim C. appears in Going to Meet the Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Going to Meet the Man
Civil Rights, Progress, and Resistance Theme Icon
...sleep, but he explains that this customer’s grandson is now a protest leader. His coworker Big Jim C. “had to whip that nigger’s ass today.” (full context)
Civil Rights, Progress, and Resistance Theme Icon
...traffic, singing, and refusing to move. Jesse’s former customer’s grandson was the protest leader, so Big Jim C. decided to target him, beating him and a few other leaders before taking them to... (full context)
Sexuality, Pleasure, and Racial Violence Theme Icon
Civil Rights, Progress, and Resistance Theme Icon
Like Big Jim C. , Jesse decided to target the protest leader, who was already bleeding and moaning on... (full context)