From the blatant racism throughout the novel, it’s clear that the Logans are confronting the challenges of living in a society dominated by whites. At school, for example, the black children only have books that have been deemed unfit for use by white children. At home, the family is constantly defending their land from the former white owners’ attempts to take it back form them.
Although the Logans are victims of racial injustice, they also fight against it, setting up a boycott of the Wallace store. Mama and Papa’s struggle to teach their children to resist injustice demonstrates that there is hope for change in the future.
Racism Quotes in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Finally T.J. said, “Okay. See, them Berrys’ burnin’ wasn’t no accident. Some white men took a match to ‘em.”
[Little Man] ran frantically along the road looking for a foothold and, finding one, hopped onto the bank, but not before the bus had sped past enveloping him in a scarlet haze while laughing white faces pressed against the bus windows.
“In the first place no one cares enough to come down here, and in the second place if anyone should come, maybe he could see all the things we need—current books for all of our subjects, not just somebody’s old throwaways, desks, paper, blackboards, erasers, maps, chalk…”
“Did the other men get fired?”
“No, ma’am,” answered Mr. Morrison. “They was white.”
“These folks getting’ so bad in here. Heard tell they lynched a boy a few days ago at Crosston.”
“And ain’t a thing gonna be done ‘bout it,” said Mr. Lanier. “That’s what’s so terrible! When Henrietta went to the sheriff and told him what she’d seed, he called her a liar and sent her on home. Now I hear tells that some of them men that done it been ‘round braggin’ ‘bout it. Sayin’ they’d do it again if some other uppity nigger get out of line.”
Knowing that the bus driver liked to entertain his passengers by sending us slipping along the road to the almost inaccessible forest banks washed to a smooth baldness…we consequently found ourselves comical objects to cruel eyes that gave no thought to our misery.
“Sometimes a person’s gotta fight,” he said slowly. “But that store ain’t the place to be doing it. From what I hear, folks like them Wallaces got no respect at all for colored folks and they just think it’s funny when we fight each other. You mama knowed them Wallaces ain’t good folks, that’s why she don’t want y’all down there, and y’all owe it to her and y’allselves to tell her. But I’m gonna leave it up to y’all to decide.”
“Far as I’m concerned, friendship between black and white don’t mean that much ‘cause it usually ain’t on a equal basis. Right now you and Jeremy might get along fine, but in a few years he’ll think of himself as a man but you’ll probably still be a boy to him. And if he feels that way, he’ll turn on you in a minute.”