In March, the black school is about to finish up the year, while the white school continues until mid-May. Jeremy is sad about this, since he says he’ll be lonely without them, and he doesn’t much like his brothers and sister. Stacey finds it a little shocking that a person wouldn’t like his own kin, but Cassie says she doesn’t blame him—she doesn’t like the other Simms either. Jeremy reveals that his older brothers have been hanging around T.J. and don’t treat him very well, making fun of him behind his back.
Stacey’s shocked when Jeremy says he doesn’t like his siblings because Stacey has grown up in an environment where family is valued above all else. The fact that the black school ends so much earlier than the white school also demonstrates how the white students are given many more educational opportunities.
Cassie asks Mama later why the older Simms boys hang around T.J., and Mama says that it probably makes them feel better to make fun of him. Then Mr. Jamison arrives, but he says he wants to speak to Papa, who’s working in the fields. Mr. Jamison walks over to talk to him, and Mama sends the children back to their chores. That night, when the adults are washing up for dinner, Cassie overhears Mama asking Papa what Mr. Jamison wanted. Papa pauses before he says that Mr. Jamison overheard one of the Wallaces saying about how he’s going to put a stop to the boycott. Mama is scared of what might happen, but Papa tells her not to worry about it yet.
Papa remains with the family even though he’s usually back at his railroad job by now. He’s clearly worried about the situation and tension between blacks/whites in town. The relationship between T.J. and the older Simms boys is just one small reflection of society’s larger injustices. Even though T.J. thinks that they’re friends, the Simms boys treat him badly and make fun of him behind his back. T.J. is alone now, without a community, and it makes him easy to exploit.
After school lets out, Papa still hasn’t gone back to the railroad. Cassie hopes that he won’t go back at all, but on the following Sunday, Papa says that he’ll have to—he hasn’t returned yet because he’s afraid something will happen with the boycott and the Wallaces, but the family needs his income. Two black sharecroppers on Mr. Granger’s land, Mr. Lanier and Mr. Avery, arrive at the Logans’ house during this conversation and say that they can no longer shop in Vicksburg. Mr. Granger has threatened to put them on a chain gang and is making them pay a higher percentage of their cotton yields. Papa says he understands. After the men leave, Stacey is indignant that the men pulled out of the boycott. Papa tells him that they had no choice—participating in the boycott in the first place was a huge risk. They aren’t as fortunate as the Logans because they don’t own land.
Mr. Granger has managed to threaten the sharecroppers on his land so that they can no longer participate in the boycott. Stacey becomes angry at the sharecroppers, but Papa reminds him again that the Logans are very fortunate to have their land—they have an independence and freedom that the black sharecroppers don’t have. Papa's point is that the sharecroppers can't be condemned for giving in because the racism of society has made them so vulnerable and just want to protect their families.
Later in the night, Cassie eavesdrops on her parents and hears that Papa plans to go to Vicksburg the next day. Mama thinks he should wait a while for things to cool down a bit, but Papa refuses. He wants to bring Stacey with him so that Stacey can learn a bit about conducting business—he doesn’t want Stacey to be a fool like T.J. Mama comments that T.J. is getting out of hand. One of these days, he’s going to get into serious trouble. The next day, Papa visits the families involved in the boycott and finds out that only seven of them are still boycotting the Wallace store. Mama says that this isn’t enough to affect the Wallace’s bottom line, just enough to get them mad, but she can’t change Papa’s mind, and he goes to Vicksburg on Wednesday with Stacey and Mr. Morrison.
Although Mama warns Papa not to go to Vicksburg, he feels a responsibility to his community, so he insists on going as scheduled. Not only does Papa feel a responsibility to his community, but he also feels responsible for showing Stacey how to do business. Papa is motivated by both family and community to continue the boycott as planned.
On Thursday, when they’re supposed to return, it begins to storm heavily. The men haven’t returned as scheduled, and the entire family gets worried. Mama sends the children to bed, but Cassie gets up later and watches as Mama and Big Ma wait for the men. Mama wants to ride out and look for them, but then they hear a sound outside, and Mama runs out to meet the men. Mr. Morrison is carrying Papa in his arms, and he sends Stacey inside first. Mr. Morrison says that the wagon rolled over onto Papa’s leg, but he doesn’t look Mama in the eye when he says this.
Again, the weather acts up during a turning point in the plot. In this scene, the family is separated and worried about one another—nobody is able to truly relax, especially since the Logan men haven’t returned as scheduled from their Vicksburg trip. When they finally do return, it turns out that Mama was right to be concerned earlier.
Later on, the children hear the story from Stacey: when they were returning from Vicksburg, someone had sabotaged their wagon and the wheels came off. While Mr. Morrison and Papa were trying to fix it, a truck drove up behind them. They didn’t hear the truck because of the rain, and then someone shot Papa, and the bullet grazed his temple. The shot scared the horse, causing the wagon to roll over Papa’s leg. Mr. Morrison fought the men, possibly injuring them badly.
Again, rain contributes to the chaos of the scene. The truck signifies that white people were following the Logan men, since only white people own motor vehicles in their community. All the acts of racial violence in the book have finally found their way to the Logans, with Papa almost getting killed.