Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
A Novel By Mildred D. Taylor
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry By Mildred D. Taylor Publisher, Puffin Books ISBN-10: 0140384510
When I first read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor back in third grade, I was appalled at how the Logan family was treated. I thought that surely, this was all fictional, but I soon found that many African-Americans faced racial segregation and violence.
During the story, the Logan family is forced to deal with hardships of the 1930s in rural Mississippi. From the exclusion of the African-American children on the school buses, to the Caucasian store owners catering to people who abuse African-Americans, the family is surrounded by hostile neighbors and townspeople, and eventually, they decide to fight back and stand up for themselves. Despite the struggles they face, the Logan family remains admirably strong, enduring everything together.
As the school year begins for the Logan children, the town is buzzing with whispers of the horrible burning of three African-American men, and it is later found out that these heinous acts are being committed by the Wallace family. This family also owns the only store in town, and Mama Logan decides she’s going to take a stand against the family and their crimes by boycotting the store and encouraging other African-American families to do the same.
The boycott spurs the Wallaces to attack the men of the Logan family and also causes Mama to get fired from her teaching position. More drama ensues as the story progresses, and eventually puts one of the boys, T.J., in mortal danger. Through the self-inflicting burning of Papa Logan’s field, he managers to save his boys for now.
Although bittersweet, the story ends with a very real message. Not everything ends happily, especially for the African-American families from that time.
I feel this story is a good novel for all ages. It allows us to take a fictional look at real events in history, and can help us learn from our past so we can create better futures for those of every race and ethnicity.