Roll of Thunder Portfolio Jenna Bradford Period 4- English Honors

Jim Crow Laws


Jim Crow Laws prohibited black and white children from going to the same school. According to the national park service "Separate schools shall be maintained for the children of the white and colored races". Black schools had many disadvantages to white schools. Black schools looked old, were crammed, and were very dirty. On the other hand white schools were big and modern.


Jim Crow Laws also prohibited white and colored people to eat together. For example, "All persons licensed to conduct a restaurant, shall serve either white people exclusively or colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within the same room or serve the two races anywhere under the same license" (National Park Service Jim Crow Laws). This means black and white people never ate together. White people had to be served seperately.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression was a time period in which the stock market crashed and people had a very hard time finding jobs, money, and food. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor takes place during the Great depression. People were forced to travel far to look for work. In the book, Cassie's dad (Papa) works in Louisiana on the railroad so that the family can keep their land. There was also a drought and dust storms called the Dust Bowl. Cassie and Little Man also got used and dirty books that they had to learn from. Another way that the Logans were affected is that they did not get a bus to take them to and from school.

These photos show a farmer in despair over the depression, huts and unemployed people, an overcrowded school room, schoolchildren in line for free food, and four unemployed men.

Abolishment of Slavery

In the United States the end of slavery was very important for African Americans. "All persons held as slaves within any State in rebellion against the United States, shall be forever free. . . "(Lincoln proclamation). This meant all slaves were free and were no longer in the custody of other people. Black people became slaves in the first place because white people thought that black people weren't really people. For example it says ". . . when they came there were some white people who thought that it was wrong for any people to be slaves; so 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 197).

"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 being killed without a trial in the South. Black people who disobeyed a Jim Crow Law were lynched. This applies to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry because the setting is in the time period where lynching was common. This also relates to the story because one of the characters, Mr. Berry, was burned. TJ was also nearly lynched for being accused of something that he did not do. Because of the threat of lynching, black people had little they could do to stop the inequality. For example when Papa is trying to save TJ from being hung he knows he could be hung like it says here "You fire on them and they’ll hang you for sure. They’d like nothing better.” “If I don’t, they’ll hang T.J.” (Taylor 447).

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