66 pages 2 hours read

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

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Part 8 and Song 6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 8, Sections 1-5 Summary

This summary covers “Keeping the Tune,” “Whatever Gets You Over,” “I Need My Own Car,” “Shower and Pray,” and “You Can Be Proud.”

One of Lydia’s regular dress customers finds her dead at the bottom of the apartment building stairway; the cause of death is an overdose. Ailey, overcome with grief, tells her mother that she is resuming volunteering but really just goes to Lydia’s apartment, sometimes speaking to her as if she were still there. Coco accuses Ailey of selfishness, saying that Ailey does nothing to help the family while she, Coco, had to pay for Geoff and Lydia’s funeral expenses as well as Nana Claire’s care. She also reveals that Gandee molested her as well; therefore Ailey cannot use that as an excuse for Lydia or for herself.

After weeks of Ailey spending time in Lydia’s apartment, Zulu tells her that she must box up Lydia’s belongings and return the keys—not for financial reasons but because Ailey needs to move on. She goes to Lydia’s apartment, gets in the tub, and considers dying by suicide. However, as she drifts into sleep, she has a dream of Lydia and a long-haired woman cleaning catfish by a creek next to a plantation.

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