I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Chapter 5
Momma demands that her grandchildren be clean and polite, and she whips them often if they disobey her. Everyone Marguerite knows is just as polite as she is, except for the powhitetrash children. Though some of them live on Momma's land, they call her by her first name, and roughhouse in the store in ways that shock Marguerite. They do not seem to care what anyone thinks of them, and they think that just because they are white they are superior to the black people who live near them. Marguerite is mortified that Momma and Willie obey these children. One day, Marguerite rakes a lovely design in the dirt outside the Store. Momma wants an important person to walk by and see it. Then suddenly they see a group of powhitetrash children approaching. Momma begins to hum a hymn quietly, and tells her granddaughter to go inside. Marguerite doesn't understand what is going on. Then the children begin to make fun of Momma, mimicking her cruelly. She says nothing, and does not change her stance or song. One of them does a handstand, and she is not wearing underwear. Finally, they leave, calling Momma Annie. Momma responds by calling each of them "Miz" and saying goodbye politely. Marguerite doesn't understand how Momma could be polite to those mean girls, but when Momma comes inside, she seems happy and dignified. Marguerite stops crying and makes another design in the dirt. Momma approves, and continues to sing hymns.