Cassie, who attends fourth grade at a black school in the South, narrates the story in first person. Through her eyes, the reader sees the injustices of racism firsthand. Cassie has a short temper and… (read full character analysis)
Stacey is Cassie’s older brother. He attends seventh grade, which puts him in the same class his mother teaches. Because his father is often away for work, Stacey feels that he must be the man… (read full character analysis)
Mama, whose name is Mary Logan, is a schoolteacher who believes that the status quo of racism shouldn’t be accepted, so she teaches her students radical material about slavery—material that isn’t included in the textbooks… (read full character analysis)
Papa, whose name is David Logan, is usually away, working on the railroad to support his family and their land so that they can maintain their independence. He has a quiet yet authoritative presence. He… (read full character analysis)
Papa’s brother, Hammer Logan, works in Chicago and earns a very decent living with his job. He’s able to afford a luxury car and dresses well. He has a short temper and reacts angrily to… (read full character analysis)
T.J. is Stacey’s friend, though none of the other Logan children like him very much. His family sharecrops on Granger land. T.J. causes trouble throughout the book, causing Mama to get fired from her… (read full character analysis)
There are three Wallace brothers: Kaleb, Thurston, and Dewberry. They are violent, racist white people who own a local general store. Early on in the book, Papa warns his children to avoid the store and… (read full character analysis)
Little Man is the youngest of the Logan children. His real name is Clayton Chester Logan. He is meticulously neat and clean, and he’s attending his first year of school.
Christopher-John, at seven years old, is probably the least daring of the Logan children. He’s usually cheerful and doesn’t quarrel as much as the others, though he often gets swept into their plans.
Big Ma, whose name is Caroline Logan, is the Logan children’s grandmother. At sixty years old, she still works in the fields like a young woman.
Harlan Granger is a rich plantation owner who’s eager to get back land from the Logan household, which his ancestors had sold years ago to Big Ma and her husband. He’s greedy and malicious, constantly plotting ways to force the Logans to sell their land.
Jeremy is a white boy who likes the Logan children and often walks with them to school, even though he’s beaten at home for associating with them.
Claude is T.J.’s brother. He’s quieter than T.J. and often gets blamed for T.J.’s antics.
Claude and T.J.’s father, a sharecropper on Harlan Granger's land.
Lillian Jean Simms
Lillian Jean is Jeremy’s older sister. Though no wealthier than the Logans, she (like the rest of the Simms other than Jeremy) sees herself as superior to them. She treats Cassie rudely.
Melvin and R.W. Simms
The older Simms brothers pretend to make friends with T.J. but use him to cause trouble and take the blame. They are responsible for the killing for which T.J. is almost lynched.
Mr. Jamison is a white lawyer who’s sympathetic to the plight of African American families in the South, and who backs the credit of the black sharecroppers to allow them to boycott the Wallaces’ store.
Little Willie Wiggins
Little Willie Wiggins is one of Stacey’s classmates in his seventh grade class. He’s the one who informs the Logan children that T.J. is responsible for getting their mother fired from her teaching job.
Cassie’s teacher at school, who believes that the black school children should be happy with what they get, regardless of its inferior or used quality.
A black sharecropper who takes part in the boycott until forced to give it up.
A black sharecropper on Harlan Granger's land.