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Nine Blocks From Home

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In other words, Bessie died because she spoke her mind. She was a Loud-talking Black Woman. Just like Tiesha.

Never mind the vague foreshadowing of her own death. The most striking part in Tiesha’s essay, in hindsight, is that she doesn’t entirely blame Bigger for Bessie’s death. Instead, she sees him as something of a victim, too. She writes that he killed Bessie because she is “an externalization not only of Bigger’s environment but also of the self-hatred induced by that environment.”

Where others see a threatening black man, she sees a sympathetic human being.

A few weeks after the memorial, at a restaurant in the Village, Henry Sargeant is talking about Tiesha again. Tiesha and Keve. He shakes his head. “You got a woman that’s accomplished like that—he knows he’s got it made. He knows he doesn’t even have to work any place. Tiesha can just take care of him. She always empathized with someone who had promise.”

Then Henry pauses.

“I think she was in love with him.”


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