Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Portfolio Katelyn Jo | Period 4

Jim Crow Laws


It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectually separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment.

Black and white people were not expected to eat together in public. However, it was fine for blacks to enter a restaurant to buy food to take out. After ordering, they would then go outside and wait for their food to be brought out to them. Some places allowed colored customers to eat in the kitchen, but the blacks usually brought their own pails and buckets to be filled.

Public Transportation

All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races.

Law separated these races in public transportation. Some towns put blacks in the back of the streetcars, while others required them up front where they could be watched by the car's operator. Motormen or conductors could not help black women with bags or parcels. Some municipal codes allowed blacks to sit wherever they wanted in the black section. In general, colored people were expected to give their seats to white passengers during crowed times.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in all of U.S. history. It started after the stock market crash in October 1929 and continued until 1939. During this crash, many people lost money. By 1933, about 13 to 15 million people lost their jobs due to failing companies laying them off. This caused many men and women to become hobos. Hobos were young people who couldn't find work. Farmers, who had already been struggling with their own economic depression before due to drought (long period of time with little or no water) and failing food prices, were affected even more. They couldn't afford to harvest their crops and were forced to leave their crops in the fields while people starved. The Great Depression affected the characters in the novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, in numerous ways. Since the Logan Family was African American, they were the minority and their chances of getting a job of agriculture or industry was lower than it was for white people. The Logans made a living by selling cotton when Papa wasn't working on the railroads. During the Depression, cotton prices dropped from 18 cents to less than 6 cents, making it harder to pay the mortgage of their land.

The Great Depression led to many problems, such as failing banks, many homeless people, and many unemployed people looking for work.

Abolishment of Slavery

The end of slavery meant a lot for the African Americans. They finally had the freedom they longed for and deserved. Ending slavery meant that African Americans had the same rights as everyone else, including the white people who had felt and acted as if they were superior to blacks. Because of President Lincoln, blacks were free from unreasonable violence caused by the whites. They were allowed to have fair wages for their hard labor. Blacks could also join the army and serve for the United States. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation states "On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State in rebellion against the United States, shall be forever free. . .," declaring independence for African Americans. However, even though a document enforced the end of slavery, whites still thought they were superior to blacks. Mildred D. Taylor expresses this thought after the end of slavery in chapter six by Mama saying "So now, even though seventy years have passed since slavery, most white people still think of us as they did then—that we’re not as good as they are— (Taylor 129)..."

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 killing without a trial in the South. It is death by a mob. This relates to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry because blacks were treated differently back in the day. Whenever, they did something wrong, no matter how major or minor it was, the whites would be quick to blame them and kill them. For example, T.J. was accused of breaking into the Barnett mercantile. A group of white men went out to find T.J. so they could hang him. He tried as hard as he could to prove himself innocent, but the men did not believe him. Papa explains in the books, "'If I don’t, they’ll hang T.J. This thing’s been coming a long time, baby, and T.J. just happened to be the one foolish enough to trigger it. But, fool or not, I can’t just sit by and let them kill the boy' (Taylor 259)."

Created By
Katelyn Jo


Created with images by subarcticmike - "Sea of Cotton" • Image Editor - "18whiteOnlySignOnRestaurantAug1938" • TradingCardsNPS - "Forever Free Emancipation Proclamation"

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