Roll of thunder Portfolio By. ashley Irons English 7H

Jim crow laws


Interracial attraction was not allowed during Jim crow days. The media had portrayed that the "Coons" (Black males) were violent towards women. The Media would often portray a "Coon" as the sexual predator of white women. This unjustified portrayal caused black men to be extremely cautious around white women. They didn't even want to look in a white female's direction. It could be taken the wrong way by if white men around. A "Coon" could be lynched if caught looking at a white woman.

A black man doing the same work was not paid the same wage as a white man. The vast differences in salaries for black and white professional baseball players is just one example of this pay discrepancy. The white players were paid an average of $2000 in the majors and a minimum of $500 in the minors. While negro players were paid an average of $450 regardless of the league they played in.

The Great depression

The great depression was the longest, and deepest economic downturn in American history. The great depression was sparked by the stock market crash in October of 1929. Over 13 million Americans were unemployed. The strongest hit occurred 5 days later on "Black Thursday." On this day, stock holders lost it all due to the vast majority of companies that were going bankrupt. Plus banks no longer had the funds to pay its account holders.

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.

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