Roll of Thunder Portfolio Mr. Vargyas- English 7

Jim Crow Laws


Jim Crow laws prohibited blacks from going to the same parks as whites. According to the National Park Service listing of Jim Crow laws it was "unlawful for colored people to frequent any park owned or maintained by the city for the benefit, use and enjoyment of white persons". If a black man or woman was in one of the parks, they were in danger of being punished or even lynched.

Voting Laws

During the era of Jim Crow, several voting laws made it incredibly difficult for African-Americans to vote. Grandfather laws made it so that African-Americans could not vote unless their grandfathers had voted in a previous election. Poll tests were difficult and designed to be failed. Taxes were required, and many poorer African Americans could not afford to pay in order to vote. Finally it was difficult to find transportation to the polls, and even the sheriff could stop them from voting entirely.

The Great Depression

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry takes place during the Great Depression. The Great Depression occurred during the 1920s and 1930s when the stock market crashed, causing one in four Americans to lose their jobs and become unemployed. Work was very difficult to find, and many people traveled across the country looking for work. In addition to this, a severe drought was occurring, which made it difficult to farm, and caused enormous dust storms in the middle of the country, an event that was known as the Dust Bowl. Characters in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry are severely affected. Cassie and her brother Little Man are forced to read out of used books in their classroom, and Papa spends part of the year working for the railroad in Louisiana to earn money so the Logan family can keep their family farm.

These photos show a woman struggling to feed her children, people standing in line to receive food, men working on the road in the middle of the Dust Bowl, and a statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President who helped to put an end to the Great Depression

Abolishment of Slavery

On January 1st, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation in the middle of the Civil War, saying that "...all persons held as slaves within any State in rebellion against the United States, shall be forever free". After the Union armies won the Civil War, African-Americans found themselves free men and women for the first time However, this freedom was not without its challenges. Many found it difficult to be seen as equals. In Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Mama tells Cassie that “...even the Northerners who fought the war didn’t really see us equal to white people.” (Taylor 192). Even in the twenty-first African-Americans still feel the legacy of slavery in attempting to achieve equality.

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." -The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America


Lynching is the process of punishing a person for a crime without giving them a fair or legal trial. Lynching was common in the United States during the time of Jim Crow, especially in the South. in the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, lynching is a common occurrence. A character named Mr. Berry is burned early in the novel by the Wallace family when he is falsely accused of being inappropriate with a white woman, and is burned nearly to death. Later in the novel, the character T.J. is nearly killed by a mob who wants to punish him for stealing a pistol and hurting members of the Barnett family, with the lawyer Mr. Jamison pleading for the crowd to “. . .let the sheriff and me take the boy. Let the law decide whether or not he’s guilty.” (Taylor 371)


Created with images by valdosta - "cotton field plant" • Jackie.lck - "Park and Chair." • Daquella manera - "Vote Here" • jimbowen0306 - "Franklin D. Roosevelt"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.