Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Essay by Superman78 May 2004

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Summary of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Nine-year-old Cassie Logan heads to the first day of school with her brothers, twelve-year-old Stacey, seven-year-old Christopher-John, and six-year-old Little Man. It is October of 1933, and they, with their Papa, Mama, and grandmother Big Ma, are a black family living in rural Mississippi. The family owns four hundred acres of land, half of which is mortgaged, and Papa must work half the year on the railroad far away to pay for it. Mr. Granger, whose family owned the land during slavery times, wants to buy it back and constantly threatens to take it from them.

On the way to school, TJ Avery, a troublemaker of thirteen, and his younger brother Claude tell how the Berrys, three black men, were burned -- one killed -- by the white Wallace brothers. A white boy, Jeremy Simms, joins them for part of the walk.

He goes to the white Jefferson Davis County School while they go to Great Faith Elementary. At school, Cassie and Little Man get in trouble with the teacher, Miss Crocker, when they are upset with their used textbooks, which list the condition "very poor" next to their race. Mama, who is a seventh-grade teacher, pastes paper over the inside covers of her students books.

Papa returns unexpectedly from the railroad with a very big and strong man named Mr. Morrison, who got in a fight with some white men and lost his job on the railroad. He will be staying with the Logans.

In October, the children must walk to school in the rain and mud and are splashed by the vindictive driver of the white school's bus. (The black school cannot afford a bus because the county doesn't give it enough money.) One day, after being forced off...