Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor follows the life of Cassie Logan and her family in Great Faith Mississippi in the year of 1933. During this time laws called the "Jim Crow Laws" were made to enforce segregation between black and white people. Through the story we see the growth of Cassie. She goes from a naive, outspoken, and confident young girl to learning the appropriate approach and time to deal with racism and when to fight against it.
The Logan Farm
The burning of Mr. Berry and his two nephews by the Wallace brothers very early on in the book sets the tone of how the rest of the story will play out. The burning is almost seen as a lynching by fire especially since one of the nephews passed away and Mr.Berry can no longer speak. The Wallace brothers have almost gloated by what they have done to the whole town.
Don't shop with the Wallace's
Since this is the south in 1933 the police look the other way when a crime on a black person is done.The Wallace brothers story goes that John Henry Berry was flirting with a white woman and he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. In retaliation Mama and Papa try to set up a protest but instead of bring the Berry family into it she tells the town that the Wallaces promote drinking to the kids and aren't good influences.
Why would they do this?
In my opinion Cassie had a right to stand up for herself and be outspoken. No one told her how living in the south could be for black people. Cassie's family want the children to live a sheltered life which is fine. However when they step out from other that shelter it is unfair and unsafe for them to be met with the harsh reality of what being black in the south looks like.
Go wait some more!
Why won't he help us?
I'm sorry Miz Lillian Jean
Cassie had her first noticeable as well as memborable encounter with racism in Strawberry MS. This is first seen when Cassie doesn't understand why the white store owner (Mr. Barnett) helps the white customers before her, TJ, and Stacy. When she brings this to his attention he tells her to leave and "don’t come back till yo’ mammy teach her what she is". Then again when Cassie bumps into Lillian Jean and forced to apologize in front of everyone.
You tell her daddy
Now Cassie the Bible says says to forgive Lillian Jean
In a way Papa is almost telling Cassie to love thy neighbor. But its kinda hard to love thy neighbor when the neighbor doest love you. So I can understand why Cassie felt like she needed to seek revenge on Lillian Jean. It shows Lillian Jean that Cassie was stronger and more confident than what Lillian Jean thought her to be. Lillian Jean will think twice before she messes with Cassie again.
I have to teach her a lesson first...
And you better not tell nobody
Papa could tell that Cassie was still affected about what happened in Strawberry. He tells her to only do something if she must because at the end of the day doing something only affects Cassie cause she has to live with whatever decision she makes. He also tells her to forgive Lillian Jean. I can understand why Papa would want Cassie to forgive Lillian Jean but I also understand why Cassie may not be able to just yet.
I'm sorry for everything Cassie
When RW and Melvin Simms beat up TJ and then framed him the murder and break-in at Mr.Barnett. An angry mob came to the Avery residence and threaten to Lynch TJ. To begin with TJ had no reason to
T.J. went to Mr.Barnett’s store in Strawberry with R.W and Melvin looking to buy a pearl-handled pistol. Instead R.W and Melvin decided to rob Mr. Barnett’s store severely injuring him in the process. When Mrs. Barnett saw two masked boys and one black boy she assumed all three boys were black. Which led the lynch mob to believe that black boys were responsible for the robbery. It didn’t help T.J’s case that R.W and Melvin were a part of the mob placing all the blame on T.J.
It was TJ
Stacy and the rest of the Logan family stood by TJ's side to try and dismantle the angry white mob. To me that was a very noble and courageous thing Stacy did for someone that doesn't really act like a friend to him, being that T.J was the sole reason why Mama was fired. In my opinion, Stacey has a great heart for him to be able to stand by someone who wouldn't do the same for him.
The fire in the cotton field (we latter found out set by Papa not lighting) threats the income of not just the Logan family but all families if the fire would spread past the Logan farm. The Logan's and other members of the community (both black and white) stop what they are doing to help put out the fire. I believe the reasoning behind Papa setting this fire is to stop the lynching of TJ from happening. Which in turn shows that black and white people can and should work together not just in times of an emergency. The decision that Papa made did not come lightly considering that they see their families blood in the land.
"You have to demand respect in this world, ain't nobody just gonna hand it to you. How you carry yourself, what you stand for that's how you gain respect. But little one, ain't nobody's respect worth more than your own. you understand that."