Between the World and Me Chapter 3 Summary
Coates thinks about the people left behind by Prince Jones, a fiancée pregnant with their daughter, who would grow up without him. He visits Prince’s mother, Dr. Mabel Jones outside Philadelphia. She offers Coates some tea and then tells him about where she was from (Louisiana) and how her ancestors were slaves there.
The author reveals that awareness of racism is realized by children differently, but it stays with a person. He observes that Dr. Mabel Jones has worked hard to escape her roots and achieve her success. Dr. Jones tells Coates about her experience with childhood religion and makes him wonder whether he missed something important from distancing himself with the church.
The Doctor had attended the University of Louisiana on scholarship. She also served in the US Navy and then became a radiologist. Jones tells the author some tales about the life of Prince and how her son excelled and school and made friends easily. She wanted him to go to Harvard, but he preferred Howard due to the black population.
Coates is baffled by Dr. Jones control even in her son’s death. She did not cry and instead found some solace in prayer. She was disappointed that the man responsible was let free. She reveals that the status and resources she provided her son were not enough to protect from his terrible death.
Coates takes his leave and reflects on the visit. He feels that injustice can be combated by awakening the dreamers. However, depending on this possibility is irrelevant as life is too short. Coates has a moment of reflection where he was joyous during homecoming at Howard, where he was surrounded by black power. Black people had managed to achieve a lot, even in their suffering.
He further reflects on the past when the dreamers had their power depends on the limits of wind and horsepower. However, capitalism and technology advanced, making it difficult to restrain the dreamers. Now they are not only laid waste to bodies of people but also the earth around them. Hence climate change is the remaining threat that seeks to destroy everyone. He thinks about the struggles that await Samori and encourages him to learn to depend on himself, his ancestors, and family but never on the dreamers. As Coates drives through the Chicago ghettoes, his childhood fear starts coming back.