Roll of Thunder Portfolio Lauren Nishitani-Period Four English 7 iPad Honors

Jim Crow Laws


African American Schools were very different than the "white" schools. Under the Jim Crow laws, the African Americans did not have as many rights as the white people did. "Black" schools were smaller and more run down than the "white" schools. The children in "black" schools sat on benches, where as the children in "white" schools had individual desks.

Bus Seats

On buses, an African American had to give up his or her seat if a white person was standing. The African Americans would always sit in the back of the bus, always behind the whites. There was even a sign the African Americans had to move that indicated where they were sitting. The whites sat in the front of the bus, and if a black person didn't give up their seat, they risked being fined and arrested.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression was when the stock market crashed around 1929 after economy was booming in the 1920s, causing people (rich people included) to lose money. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry takes place during the time of the Great Depression when cotton prices fell and conditions were harsh for blacks. With that, a three year drought began (the Dust Bowl) and Georgia's agricultural economy decreased. Becuase of this drought, dust storms were created and millions of people had to leave their homes. After the Great Depression, around 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed and more and more people started to become homeless in America. This affected the characters in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry because Cassie's father has to leave his family to work on the railroad. He travels in order to find work so that he and his family can keep the land.

Abolishment of Slavery

The end of slavery meant that violence would be taken away for African-Americans in the United States. In the Emancipation Proclamation, from January 1st, 1863, Abraham Lincoln states that he declares for "people...to be free...recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages". From the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mama explains to Cassie that "...the people who needed slaves to work in their fields and the people who were making money bringing slaves from Africa preached that black people weren't really people like white people were, so slavery was all right" (Taylor 128).

"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 when a person accused of a crime is killed by a mob, usually by hanging, without a legal trial. In Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, the black people would be lynched if they broke a Jim Crow Law. For example, Mr. Berry was burnt, almost to death, by the Wallaces because he was seen interacting with a white woman. Towards the end of the book, the white people (the Wallaces and Simms) threaten to hang T.J. for breaking into Mr. Barnett's store. Papa and Mr. Morrison were also in danger of being lynched. The sheriff, however, tells the whites that “Mr. Granger sent word by me that he ain’t gonna stand for no hanging on his place. He say y’all touch one hair on that boy’s head while he on this land, he’s gonna hold every man here responsible" (Taylor 255). Mr. Granger is indicating that the whites can do whatever they want as long as it is done somewhere else.


Created with images by Mamyoung - "cotton field tn" • dbking - "#11"

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