Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry

By: Princess Brigman

Book Review

The setting of the story is in the Jim Crow south. It’s about a black family, the Logan’s that owns 400 acres of land. Other families don’t like them for owning such land because typically in that time period because, during the early 1930’s to the late 1930’s, blacks were sharecroppers working on the fields of white land owners. There is a man who tries with all of his might to get that land away from the Logan family. The Logan’s fight against it and try their hardest to get there land to stay in their possession. Overall the book was extremely interesting, and jam packed with action.

The story takes 1933 and the setting is in Strawberry, Mississippi. A man named Harlem Granger is desperate for the Logan families land. You see, Harlem Granger is white and the Logan family is black so Harlem probably has a better chance of getting their 400 acers of land from them. Really the whole entire book is written around the issue and it pops up in the story-line several times. And also racism was prevalent throughout the book. The author definitely held my interest throughout the novel, even though in the beginning it was pretty slow, there were enough conflicts to keep the reader interested in the book. Overall it was a page turner. That kept me guessing what was going to happen every chapter. The major theme throughout the whole book was to stand up for yourself, protect what you own, and if your given a command just to go ahead and do it. Also, to stand up for something that you know is wrong. I would give the book rating a 4.5 stars.

Historical Accuracy

I think that the author conveyed the setting and historical accuracy well and it really painted a picture in my head. I feel like the only thing that was missing was the mentioning of the Great Depression because that was happening during this time period. Even though it might not have mattered to blacks anyway because they didn’t really have any money. But it talked about how Uncle Hammer came down to the south in one of these nice cars. When really back then nobody could even afford an actual car. Everybody was suffering then. I would give the author a good rating for historical setting. Although she did not depict the Great Depression. The conflicts in the story make you feel something in your heart actually. It makes you feel like you’re actually there. Matter of fact I almost cried on one part of the book because the author really captivates you in the moment and makes you feel what the reader is feeling. I admire that the author took me on an emotional roller coaster throughout the book. Really I felt like I was actually the character. I also felt like I felt the emotions of the other characters and not just the protagonist. Nothing really bothered me about the book, only the extended chapters. The chapters were really long and wordy it seemed like so much information just for one chapter. Also the dialect is kind of hard to understand if you’re not familiar with the time period of the book. I wish that the author would shorten up the chapters at least by ten pages short, that way there would be less information jam packed in the chapters.

Informational Piece

In the book “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry” the “Night Riders” are brought up several times in the book to convey fear in the reader. It surely did its purpose and frightened me. The author accomplished her purpose because it made me worried for the characters in the book as well. What I didn’t know is that these “Night Riders” also have some historical background. It turns out, that these “Night Riders” were actually the early Ku Klux Klan. This is where the hateful group originated from.

The KKK was found and originated in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866 and reached almost every single southern state by 1870. The group was a supremacist* group that went after Black African Americans. The terrorist group derived their name from the Greek word kuklos, meaning group or band and the word clan. At first the group was recreational, but soon turned to terrorizing free African American slaves and people of other races. The Klan soon started wearing their signature white cap on the top of their heads. These costumes they wore were meat to represent the ghosts of the Confederates who had died. Also they used these disguises so people couldn’t really identify who they were, while this also provoked fear in their victims. These white men apart of the clan rode the streets at night, making African Americans fear for their lives. This is where the term of the night riders came in. the clan or The KKK/night riders were actually very similar to groups like the “Masons” or the “Odd Fellows” who had different handshakes and passwords. For example, the word “kigy” meant, “Klansman, I greet you.” In their language. They believe that America was originated to be a Christian white country. These groups are racist towards black people and other races from when they started out in the 19


Century to 21


century today. A common misconception is, that the Klan only hated black people, and other ethnicities besides whites, or had a different religion other than Christian. They just terrorized Black citizens to trouble the people involved in the civil rights movement.

The Klu Klux Klan has some signature acts that make them stand out from other groups. They bombed black schools, churches, they lynched Negros, murdered them, raped women, etc. These acts, most definitely put them category of an extremist group. They also frequently burned crosses which became a signal for anybody passing by, that the Klan was there. Before, they had used the cross burnings for disciplinary reasons, but claim that these days of disciplinary burnings are long over. The group has now changed the name from “cross burnings”, to the modern term “cross lightings”. The Klan insists that when they burned their crosses it symbolized there faith and their belief in Jesus Christ and they also light them because they say that “Jesus is the light of the world.” Some Klansmen are ministers and majority belong to the Protestant church. The group claims to follow the word of God, but they bend the writings and teachings of the bible so that it can fit their definition of racial supremacy and the definition that White Christians are the superior race. They believe that a good definition of a true Christian can only be found in White, Christian, American citizen.

Today, after lynching African Americans a long time ago, the KKK are still fighting for white people to be in power. They actually have a signup sheet in the format of the one below.

The document has all of the requirements that is needed in order to join the Klu Klux Klan and become a loyal member of the Klan. Now, the Klan does not burn Negros on crosses, instead they just confront people that they don’t nessicarily agree with, but still do attack the people who cross over there border pushing them to their breaking point. Take the case of, Jason Smith who in 2012 was murdered by white teens who were apart of the supremacist group. He was beaten to death, and his organs were stolen. His dead body was later thrown into the water. The US didn’t even give a mention to this case, which is why the KKK doesn’t get much publicity anymore.

Now there are only 5,000 – 8,000 members of the group. People may say that the group has disappeared but they haven’t completely. They are still here, still trying to accomplish their goal of White rule over the US.


Davies, Julie, and "Ku Klux Klan Act." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. "Ku Klux Klan Act (1871)." HighBeam Research, 2004. Web. 02 May 2016.

 Staff. "Ku Klux Klan." A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 02 May 2016.

"Exposed." : Black Teen Found Dead, Organs Missing. 4 Sept. 2012. Web. 05 May 2016.

Person, and Jon Levine. "7 Facts About How the KKK Is Operating in the United States T

Creative Component/Narrative

So many things happened in the past few years and my small little town by Strawberry. But this one night could be considered the worst night of my entire life. I remember when TJ had done it again, fixing to get in trouble. He had become one of the Wallace boy’s friends. Now you see, the Wallace boys were white, and down here in the south, it’s dangerous for Negro to be officiated with white boys like the Wallaces. TJ had seen this gun in the store. Thought it was a real beauty and definitely wanted it. That was when him and Stacey, my brother, were real good friends. TJ done got Stacey in trouble, so they weren’t as close as they had been before.

TJ really didn’t have no friends, so his way of finding some was going to the Wallace boys. The Wallace boys really weren’t great kids and weren’t really TJs friend. They used the boy to go down to Strawberry, and steal a few things. They told him that he was gonna get the gun from the shop down there. TJ agreed but got nervous on his way down there. They kept on tryin’ persuade him but he was getting more and more skeptical as they went along. The guys saw how nervous he was getting and ruffed him up a bit tryin’ to get him to go in that store with them boys. He finally agreed and went in the store with the boys. They busted the counter open and got the gun out for TJ. TJ took it and was expecting to get out of that store, but the Wallace boys had something else in mind. They started stealing stuff out of that store and that woke the Old Man who owned the store up. He ran downstairs and saw the boys and started after them but one of the Wallace boys bashed him upside the head, knocking the man out. The man’s wife came down, only to see her passed out husband on the ground and looked in horror. To make things worse, the Wallace boys bashed her upside the head to. TJ didn’t know if they were dead or not. He surely hoped they weren’t, because he knew that he would be in a hec of a lot of trouble if they were. Turns out they wasn’t and somebody done snitched on the boys.

Later on TJ had been out late at night and came knockin’ on Stacey’s door to his bedroom. He came in there all messed up an’ such. He said he needed help and he needed for somebody to walk home with him because he was scared to be by himself. Stacey and I asked what the matter was. I honestly thought he was pullin’ one of his jokes but it was quickly revealed he was not. He unbuttoned his shirt and we saw the blue and black bruises that covered his chest. He looked pale and weak. Stacey had to be as surprised as I was. With just our luck our brothers had woke up from the racket we was causin’. TJ explained the boys that claimed were his friends did this to him, and that they was never his friends. Stacey agreed to walk him down to where he stayed. They set out, Stacey being careful to aid him along the walk. Vicious lightning cackled over the house and I didn’t want to be here at the house by myself so I fixed myself ready to go with Stacey. Of course my younger brothers followed my league, yet Christopher- John wasn’t so hot on the idea, but still agreed. We went all the way down to where TJ stayed and dropped him off. There we watched him as he climbed through the window of the house. Not even a couple of minutes later, a car pulled up and many people jumped out. Without thinking, all of us dived under nearby bushes. Not to our surprise, the Wallace boys were leading a riled up mob. They went up to the house and busted the window that TJ had just crawled through. They went inside and started throwing people around, even the women with babies. I saw one of Little Man’s friends being tossed out of the out of the house like he was a dirty rag that was filled with diseases. People were being thrown out left and right, and then we saw TJ. The boys started punching him in his ribs hard. TJ cried out in pain. I had never seen anything as brutal and as terrible, as this event. My brothers and I watched in horror as they brutally assaulted TJ. I was scared he was about to die.

They was fixin’ to get ready to hang TJ, they was, but the police showed up just in the nick of time. They told the men to leave TJ alone and that they was gon’ take him into the station for some questions, and things would move on from there. I figured the whole reason of this attack was because of what happened at the little shop in Strawberry. I was confused at the moment. TJ hadn’t done anything it was the boys who did it. TJ looked like he was on the verge of dying right then and there. The commotion subsided and it seemed everybody was gone. We quickly retreated from the bushes and made our way through the woods, to our house. We arrived to the nose piercing smell of smoke. Looked to me like that ruthless lighting showed no mercy upon us and set our cotton crops on fire. The boys and I looked in astonishment as we watched my Grandma who we call “Big Ma” and Mother and our nearby neighbors try to put the fire out. The people helping put the fire out were all very frantic making the air even thicker than before. The fire had reached the trees and was already on its way down to Strawberry, a neighboring town. Soon later, almost dawn, it began to pour rain putting out the fire that the lit up our cotton fields and the trees on our property. We later find out that the lighting had destroyed about one- third of our crops. I know Mama was disappointed. But it seemed like that fire did not compare to what I saw happen to TJ earlier. I was worried and I know Christopher- John was worried about his friend that he saw thrown out of the window.

Mama had told us that Christopher John’s friend was alright but TJ was a different story. The sheriffs had taken him into custody and he could possibly die. I felt terrible for him. I had never really liked TJ all that much but I felt bad. I knew he was going to die, and our family could have prevented this. I just wish that things could have changed. But it’s irreversible now. The damage is done and now, TJ is gone forever.

  1. Simila



Davies, Julie, and "Ku Klux Klan Act." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. "Ku Klux Klan Act (1871)." HighBeam Research, 2004. Web. 02 May 2016.

 Staff. "Ku Klux Klan." A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 02 May 2016.

"Exposed." : Black Teen Found Dead, Organs Missing. 4 Sept. 2012. Web. 05 May 2016.

Person, and Jon Levine. "7 Facts About How the KKK Is Operating in the United States T