Blacks protested about getting half pay of the white troops. Eventually Congress and the war department had to make black and white soldiers’ pay and work equal. Black women also served in the Union forces. Nine out of ten black people in the USA lived in the rural south. The new president, Andrew Johnson, was a southerner. He ordered that the land given to the free blacks had to be returned to the white planters. The defeated states were allowed to recall the states governments. These quickly passed laws giving blacks civil rights such as voting and education.
There was a struggle between the president and Congress over the post-war period, called the reconstruction. In 1866 Congress passed the fourteenth amendment to the US constitution (1868), which granted equal rights and citizenship to blacks. The fifteenth amendment (1870) gave equal voting rights to all men. Congress also opened state lands in the south to black settlers and set up the Freedmans Bureau to open hospital and schools to blacks, and to help them get employment and civil rights. Food was given to the poorest blacks and whites. The Freedmans bank was opened but it was badly managed and black customers lost over $3million.
The new opportunities were quickly seized. Black candidates were elected to Congress, state governments and city councils. Blacks set up farms and businesses, went to schools and universities. This armed southern whites and many joined anti black organisations, such as the Ku Klux Klan, which attacked blacks and pro-black whites. In this essay on ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’ I am going to show you how the author Mildred Taylor expresses her thoughts on the different types of racism, to children, elderly people, men and women of the black race. In the Logan family there are four children; Stacey, Cassie, Christopher-John and Little Man.
They do not feel it is fair that the white children get what they want. The white children have a bus and a longer time at school, while the black children have to work on the plantation until October. This is because the white people need someone to do all the work required on the plantation. The white children’s school has plenty of money spent on it, but it reflects the political prejudices of the old south, ‘The Jefferson Davis County School, a long white wooden building looming in the distance. Behind the building was a sports field, around which was scattered rows of tiered grey-looking benches.
In front of it were two yellow buses, our own tormentor, and one that brought students from the other direction and loitering students awaiting the knell of the morning bell. In the very centre of the expansive front lawn, waving red, white and blue with the emblem of the Confederacy emblazoned in its upper left-hand corner, was the Mississippi flag. Directly below it was the American flag. ‘ The author has given you an image of a posh and expensive school. She then contrasts and tells us about the blacks’ school. The blacks’ school is very poor and of a bad quality,
“Great Faith Elementary and Secondary School, one of the largest black schools in the country, was a dismal end to an hour’s journey, consisting of four weather-beaten houses on stilts of bricks, 360 students, seven teachers, a principal, a caretaker and the caretaker’s cow which kept the wide crabgrass lawn sufficiently clipped in spring and summer. ” This is because the council won’t give any money to the black school because ‘it is a waste of money’. They say that the black people are stupid and that whites are cleverer and deserve to learn. The council won’t buy equipment needed in the black schools.
Black children cannot expect books in their classes. However books had been sent to the Logan school. All the books are dirty and when Little Man, who is extremely clean and doesn’t like dirt asks for a different one which is clean, the teacher tells him they’re all the same and sends him back to his seat. When he reads the label inside the book, he flings it onto the floor and stamps on it. Little Man finds the book offensive because he sees that only white children have used the book when it was in good condition. After eleven white children had used the book it was in bad condition, then the books could be given to the black children.
Inside the book they describe the black race nigra. This made Little Man upset, Cassie agrees with Little Man. Some black people accept white supremacy; Miss Crocker told Cassie ‘that’s what you are now go sit down. ‘ I think that most black people had got used to the white people making racist comments that the black people had grown to accept that instead of making a fuss. They will know will make things worse for themselves and not better, also miss Crocker is from a mainly white dominated area, she has got used to the white dominating the black people.
The Wallaces (who were white) like the black children going to their store to behave in ways that black parents do not like, so Papa tells his children how he feels to them, “Your mama tells me that a lot of older children been going up to that Wallace store after school to dance and buy their bootleg liquor and smoke cigarettes. Now she said she’s already told y’all this, but I’m gonna tell y’all again, so listen good, we don’t want y’all going to that place, children going there are gonna get them selves in a whole lot of trouble one day. There’s drinking up there and I don’t like it – and I don’t like them Wallaces either.
If I ever find out y’all been up there, for any reason, I’m gonna wear y’all out. Y’all hear me? ” This shows that he gives great concern over his children. I think that he gives us the impression that the Wallaces have done something, but he doesn’t say what, this gives the reader something to think about. This is why Papa is worried and wants them to stay away. The white children show signs of racism and have no respect for the blacks. The white children’s bus deliberately forces the black children to run to get away from the bus as entertainment for themselves.
The Logan family try and to jump up the bank to avoid it, they are soaked in muddy water. Little Man is beside himself with rage, “As moronic rolls of laughter and cries of “Nigger! Nigger! Mud eater! ” wafted from the open windows, Little Man threw his mudball, missing the wheels by several feet. Then totally dismayed by what had happened, he buried his face in his hands and cried. ” The black children appear scared of the white people. The black Logan’s feel very upset over the remarks they have made, especially Little Man. I think that the black children don’t understand why the white people behave this way.
The Logan family try and take revenge, and plan to stop the bus from soaking them. The plan is very successful and they feel a great sense of triumph. I think that the bus getting stuck in the ditch will teach the white children a lesson because for once the white children had to walk to and from school, which is unusual because they always get a lift. But the black children after the event feel very worried and for several days after they are very jumpy because they knew if someone found out it was the Logan family that was responsible, they would punish them.
Both Mama and Big Ma feel a sense of pleasure that the bus crashed, even though they don’t know what caused it, “You know I’m glad no one was hurt – could’ve too with such a deep ditch – but I’m also rather glad it happened. ” I think that if they knew it was the children who had made the ditch, then they wouldn’t have been so happy about it and would be worried what might happen. The children are worried because they hear that the white men are coming in the night and the Logan children think that they are coming after them for creating the ditch.
The Ku Klux Klan is a racist organisation which existed at this time and whose activities included paying visits at night to people they wanted to threaten, dressed up all in white with white hoods and burning crosses. The affect of the white men’s visit in the night is so great that mama wonders if Cassie’s peculiar behaviour is the result of having seen them. She doesn’t think that it might be due to guilt at having wrecked the bus. When Stacey is punished by Mama for the cheat notes in the history test, he goes to fight T. J. whose notes they were. This involves going to the Wallace’s store as T.
J. is hiding there because he thinks that Stacey won’t find him there. Mr. Morrison rescues the Logan’s and explains why they should not go to the store, “From what I hear, folks like them Wallaces got no respect at all for coloured folks and they just think it’s funny when we fight each other. Your Mama knowed them Wallaces ain’t good folks, that’s why she don’t want y’all down there, y’all owe it to her and yourselves to tell her. ” When the children tell her about going to the store she is very cross about it and says she will tell Papa about it. She then takes them to see Mr.
and Mrs. Berry. Mr. Berry was burnt by white men. This scares the children because they know if they do something, then it might happen to them. Mama is hoping they will not go back to the store. Big Ma takes Cassie and Stacey to Strawberry for the market. While they are in Strawberry, Stacey, Cassie and T. J. go into Mr. Barnett’s store to buy goods and he is interrupted in serving them by two white adults. When a white girl also is served before them, this is too much for Cassie who reminds Mr. Barnett that they were there first. His reaction to her is very rude and aggressive.
“Whose little nigger girl is this? ” he bellows and when Cassie does not back down, he advises Stacey, “then you get her out of here, and make sure she don’t come back till yo’ mammy teach her what she is. ” He serves the white people first because people at that time thought that white people are more important than black people. So white people get first priority. Cassie is still angry from her encounter with Mr. Barnett and bumps into Lillian Jean Sims, a poor white sister of Jeremy Sims. Lillian demands an apology for “bumping into decent white folks with your nasty little self.