Roll of thunder is set in Mississippi in the 1930’s this was farming country at the time growing mostly cotton. Before the civil war this was slave country where the blacks were brought from Africa to the south of America to work for free on the plantations. But the civil war stopped this and the blacks walked free. But the whites didn’t like this. They were brought up to think that the blacks were just animals and this was how they treated them. They were thought as massively inferior to the whites.
The white people thought that the if there was equality then that threatened their profits and there way of living. And in many ways being free was just as bad as being slaves. The Whites would do anything to keep this old way of living. There were even a group dedicated to keeping this way of living and used to do anything to keep the blacks where they thought they should be. They would torture, humiliate and even kill any blacks that the group thought as a threat to the way of living. This group were called the Klu Klux Klan and are very well known for the terror that they caused.
Roll of thunder is based on one well off black family called the Logan’s. The Logan’s unlike all the other blacks in the book own their own land. They own 400 acres of very good farming land of which 200 is mortgaged and the other 200 is owned by the family. The father David Logan is away most of the time working no the rail roads up in the north of Mississippi he had to work there as it was the only way of paying the mortgage on time, and if the mortgage wasn’t paid the whites would be very quick on taking away the land.
He works for the benefit of the family and tries to protect them. He even brings down a friend called Mr Morrison to protect them as there was a particularly large amount of racist killings. He believes in very strong discipline and the children in the family respect that, he forbids them from going to the Wallace store ‘If I ever find out y’all been up there. For any reason, I’m gona wear y’all out. ‘ And they do and they do as he says. Mrs Logan is the mother of the family and is the teacher at New Hope school, which is the local black school.
She believes very strongly in truth, fairness and equality, and is prepared to bend the rules to help the children and covers the inside of the books so that the pupils will not have to know that the books are what the whites don’t need ‘now dipping a grey looking glue onto the inside front cover of one of the books. Then she took the paper and placed it over the glue. ‘ Mrs Logan wasn’t born in Mississippi so she has had the feeling of not being constantly under pressure by the Klan as much as the local’s had have grown up in Mississippi.
And like her husband David Logan she doesn’t like the blacks going up to the Wallace store. She thinks the only way to get a better life and get away from the racism is education and this was true. She is very hard on the children always pushing the children to do there best in there school. Big Ma is Mr Logan’s mother and is at home nearly all the time. She is the main house keeper and she works the fields too. She is very comforting too, especially when Little Man was splashed by the bus ‘”now look here baby, it aint the end of the world.