Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Finished 4-25-15, rating 5/5, YA, 288 pages, pub. 1976
Winner of the Newbery Medal
A National Book Award Nominee
Why is the land so important to Cassie’s family? It takes the events of one turbulent year—the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she’s black—to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family’s lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride—no matter how others may degrade them, the Logans possess something no one can take away. from Goodreads
Oh, how I loved this book! It has been with me for at least 5 moves and 17 years and when I signed up for the Classics Club I added it to my list so I would finally read it. I’m just sad it took me so long. Did you ever get halfway through a book and just know it was going to be a 5 star book? This was one of those few books for me. I fell in love with the writing, the protagonist, the family, the setting, the story. Not a false word to be found.
It’s the Depression and the Logan’s are one of the rare black landowners in their area of Mississippi. They have land but not enough money from farming to pay the bills, so the father of four must spend half the year away from his family to support them. Cassie’s voice is the voice of anyone with a conscience and an acceptance of equality. She diesn’t really see the world in black and white but over the year she learned firsthand how brutal and dangerous racism could be. Her parents were both leaders and pragmatic, knowing that holding on to their land made just as big a statement as rallying boycotts. The book is not an after-school-special, there are hard times and difficult truths. I was struck by this passage when I read it because it seemed the wrong message to a child, but after finishing the book and taking it as a whole, it did fit into the narrative.
“But Papa, I don’t think Jeremy’d be that way.”
Papa’s eyes narrowed and his resemblance to Uncle Hammer increased. “We Logans don’t have much to do with white folks. You know why? ‘Cause white folks mean trouble. You see blacks hanging ’round with whites, they’re headed for trouble. Maybe one day whites and blacks can be real friends, but right now the country ain’t built that way. Now you could be right ’bout Jeremy making a much finer friend than T.J. ever will be. The trouble is, down here in Mississippi, it costs too much to find out…So I think you’d better not try.”
I fell in love with this family. For me, it was perfection, but I was happy to discover that it’s book four of seven about the Logans. I don’t know if I will read them but I’m so happy I have the option. I’d recommend this to anyone and everyone 🙂