Roll of Thunder Portfolio Addyson Greenwald - Period 4

Jim Crow Laws

Voting Laws

In the time of Jim Crow, it was hard for color skinned people to vote. The Grandfather Laws made it so somebody couldn't vote unless their grandfathers have. First, they would have to pass a difficult voting test. They would then have to pay a voting fee. Afterward, they would still need to get to the voting area without being arrested. A sheriff would then be there to arrest them. Overall, it wasn't easy for them to vote and it wasn't worth trying.

Segregation Laws

Anybody who was color skinned was segregated, or separated from the whites. There were different schools, bathrooms, restaurants, etc. The buildings for colored skin usually weren't as neat, as they were normally old and run-down.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression had a stronger effect on Southern parts of the states, and less effect on Northern areas of the states. Boll weevil was a problem in cotton fields, reducing small farmers' earnings. Farmers needed to purchase more expensive farm machinery for farming more efficiently after cotton prices reduced, but only some rich landowners could afford the equipment needed, leaving many farmers with little money. A three year drought then began 1925. By this time, it was hard enough for everybody, but it was even harder for the African Americans. Many of which were kicked off of their own land.

Abolishment of Slavery

The end of slavery in the United States was in important to African American slaves. For many years, they had been held as slaves in the U.S. Although they still didn't have complete freedom yet, they had more freedom than before, as Abraham Lincoln said that, "all persons held as slaves within any State in rebellion against the United States, shall be forever free. . .". This was a relief for the them as they didn't like being slaves either. In Roll of Thunder, Cassie's mother says how, "even teaching us Christianity didn’t make us stop wanting to be free, and many slaves ran away."(Taylor 128). Besides just bringing freedom to the African Americans, the end of slavery brought them better treatment and 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 when somebody is punished without a trial. The punishment usually resulted in a lot of violence such and hanging and burning. This happened when an African American person broke the law or was said that they broke the law by a white person, even if they didn't. One example in when in Roll of Thunder, Mr. Berry is tarred and feathered. In the book, TJ was “dragged from the house on his knees. His face was bloody and when he tried to speak he cried with pain, mumbling his words as if his jaw were broken.”


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