Abolishment of slavery.
Slavery was abolished in 1865. I'm sure that many of the slaves were excited and very grateful to Abraham Lincoln for his statement “...And I hereby call upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense…” I don’t think they were as grateful a few days later as they realized that they weren’t getting their repatriations (40 acres, and a mule to pay them for all their free work). There is reason to believe that blacks were scared. Many blacks had no where to go. One story in Roll of Thunder states “"Mama nodded again," That's right honey. He was hiding in a cave when Freedom came, so I understand” (Taylor #249) This shows that even after the abolishment, Papa Luke (The “he” in the quote) was still scared.
Lynching is when a mob kills someone commonly by hanging, or burning, for a non deserving reason, without a fair trial. African Americans were lynched often by white men in the early 1900’s. In the beginning of the book, Roll of Thunder, the males in the Berry family were lynched for whistling at a white woman. Later, towards the end the book in chapter 11, there is a pre-lynch scene. Cruel things were yelled such as “ I say what we oughta do is take him on down the road and take care of that big black giant of a nigger at the same time!”(Taylor #173) Or “New? How come you wanna waste a new rope on a nig-ger?” (Taylor #173). They were planning on hanging Tj, Papa, and Mr. Morrison, and only one person thought what was happening at the time was wrong.