Marguerite sees Momma as one of the strongest and most powerful people in Stamps. She was the only black woman in the town’s history ever called “Mrs.” by a white person, though it was a mistake; a judge read her name as a witness in a petty crime that took place near the store; he didn’t know she was black, and when he realized his mistake he laughed. But the blacks in town believed this event was a testament to Momma’s greatness.
Though Momma is a highly accomplished businesswoman and upstanding citizen, calling her “Mrs.” is a laughable error to the white judge. It is a very serious matter to black residents in Stamps, however, for the respect of a white person (even if inadvertent or erroneous) is rare, and cause for celebration.