"He could teach any of us one thing, and that one thing was flight. Because there was no freedom here. He said it, and he didn't say it. But we felt it." - Grant Wiggins In the book, A Lesson Before Dying, written by Ernest J. Gaines, Grant Wiggins recalls the outcome of a trail he was not involved in as a young boy.
He has now returned to his hometown where he teaches black children, like himself, at the plantation school. While watching the young boys chop the wood at the school, Wiggins remembers his old teacher, Matthew Antoine, who was both black and white. Mr. Antoine was not happy with the fact he was part black, but felt superior to all black people since he was whiter than they would ever be. In addition, he also makes it very clear to his students that there is no hope for black people to amount to much in this town; it would be best if they all left and tried to make something of themselves somewhere else because it sure enough was not happening here. The quote above said by Grant Wiggins, on page 63, refers to Matthew Antoine's outlook towards his black students.
He did not show them any respect, since he felt they did not deserve any; moreover, Mr. Antoine only really wanted to teach his students one thing: to run away from the South. He could not express it any other way to his students. African Americans in the 1940's could not get a superior job or make an essential amount of money working in the South where they are treated like less than a person, and Mr. Antoine hated it, himself, and his students for it.