I want you to show them the difference between what they think you are and what you can be.

During his visit to the jail with Miss Emma and Reverend Ambrose in Chapter 24, Grant walks with Jefferson and tells him that Jefferson’s death is mightily important. Grant knows that the community will remember the execution for a long time and that Jefferson’s final moments will have a powerful impact on many people. He wants to make that impact a good one, so he asks a very difficult thing of Jefferson: to die with absolute dignity. Grant wants Jefferson to show the white community that he is not an animal, as they think he is, but a dignified man, as he can be if he tries. This speech rouses the usually angry Jefferson, and he cries listening to it.