In Mildred D. Taylor’s book ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’, there exists a community, in reality, two communities. They are divided by culture and history but chiefly by their colour. Therein exists the white community – the superior- and the black community – the inferior. The concept of colour lies at the heart of the novel. The story is narrated through the eyes and ears of an innocent but astute, black, nine year old girl named Cassie Logan. Over the course of the novel, Cassie directly experiences racism and learns the real dangers of being black in the South in the 1930s.
She is from the most prominent black family in the black community, the Logan family. The Logans are the only black landowners in the neighbourhood and the mother, Mary Logan, is a teacher at the School. However, the Logans still struggle to survive comfortably. The father, David Logan is based on Mildred Taylor’s own father. The family are clever enough to realise the injustice done to them on the basis of their skin colour. Unlike the other families however, they take action and don’t just accept without a fight. Social integration between adults and juniors alike is rare and frowned upon.
The black and white children both attend different schools which plays a major role in separating them since childhood. Education is very important, more to the blacks than the whites. Moe, for example, walks for miles just to get to the Great Faith School with its meagre resources. There is much discrimination and inequality in the education and schooling system provided for the blacks and the whites. The county provides very little for its black students and as shown in the incident at the beginning of the novel regarding the text books, they are expected to be grateful for what little tatty, worn, hand-downs they receive.
The dirty, worn-out, books that were unfit for the whites are given to the black children by the White school Board of Governors. We must also consider the daily torment of the Logan children and TJ through the school bus. They have to walk for miles to get to school whilst the white students of the Jefferson Davis School are escorted to school in a bus. The Logan children follow the example of their parents’ by not simply accepting things as the yare and retaliating. They strand the school bus in a ditch to avenge the whites because of the driver splashing the children with swampy water daily.
Most of the black people accept their fate and unjust treatment by believing that there is nothing wrong with their treatment because they are ‘black’. They accept it because they are either intimidated by the whites or accustomed to their treatment. However, the Logan family differ and they take direct action wherever and whenever possible. We see this through the stance that Little Man takes on receiving his glorious ‘new’ book. Later on, when Miss Crocker comments to Mary Logan: ‘”Why they got so upset about it, I’ll never know. “‘ We realise the acceptance of the people, even the educated.