Rosaleen is the only mother figure Lily knows for most of her life. She is the black housekeeper/nanny whom T. Ray pulls out of the fields to care for his daughter after his wife is killed. Rosaleen has amazing spirit and courage, for which she sometimes pays a terrible price, as when she spits on the white men who accost her on her way to voter registration. She loves and cares for Lily and could never hurt her. She fits in well at the Boatright house, becoming a good friend to the doomed May. Originally, Lily felt she was better than Rosaleen because of Lily's prejudices, but she comes to see Rosaleen as an amazing and gutsy woman.