Notes on Characters from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Major Characters

Cassie: The only daughter of Mary and David Logan. Cassie is mature in regard to her sense of morality (she believes in justice and kindness, for example) but she is naïve. She does not understand the depth and cruelty of the racism around her. She expects to be treated as a real person, and white people in her town simply do not do this for a young black girl. Throughout the book, she learns from her loving parents about when to fight and when to keep quiet, and how to keep your dignity when the world seems set on taking it away.

Little Man: The youngest son of Mary and David Logan, Little Man is sometimes the most mature. He is rarely afraid of danger and loves adventure. He dislikes cruelty and lies--one reason why he hates T.J. He is also very neat: he worries constantly about his clothes and possessions becoming dirty.

Stacey: Cassie's older brother. Stacey tries to be a man but sometimes fails. He is brave and compassionate, but not always wise--T.J. tricks him into giving him his new coat, for example. He wants to take care of the farm by himself when his father is gone, so resents the presence of Mr. Morrison, who was sent by their father to protect them.

Christopher-John: Brother of Cassie, Stacey and Little Man. Christopher John is perhaps the meekest of all the children. He prefers to stay safe at home most of the time, and he loves to eat. However, he does not like to be left behind, so he often goes on adventures just for that reason.

David Logan: Husband of Mary and father of Cassie and her brothers. David, or 'Papa,' is kind and wise and hardworking. He loves his children and wants them to succeed and be good people. In turn, his children love him dearly. He wants to fight racism wherever it occurs, but he does not want his family to be hurt, and he sometimes worries about losing his land to the racist rich people around him.

Hammer Logan: David's hotheaded brother. Hammer would rather simply kill the white people who harass and attack him than try to reason with them. He doesn't think they deserve compassion, since they have given him none. He lives in Chicago and makes a good living, priding himself on living as an equal to his white neighbors.

Mary Logan: David's wife and mother of Cassie and her brothers. Intelligent, beautiful and strong, Mary has wanted to be a teacher all her life. She is committed to fighting for racial justice, no matter what it costs her. However, she desperately wants to protect her family, and worries they will be hurt.

Caroline Logan: 'Big Ma' is David's mother. She has worked the land since she was eighteen, and loves it as much as her dead husband did. She is good with medicine, and takes care of her family and neighbors. Strong and good-natured, she works in the fields like a young woman.

T.J. Avery: Stacey's best friend T.J. is a fourteen-year-old boy who everyone thinks is obnoxious. He talks constantly, loves to brag, won't obey his parents, cheats on tests, and lies. Later in the book he begins to steal from people, and finally gets in trouble for taking part in a robbery with two white boys who then accuse him of murdering the shopkeeper (which they did themselves).

Minor Characters

Harlan Granger: Rich white man who lives near the Logans. His family owned much of the land in the area half a century ago, and now Granger wants to buy it back. He threatens the Logans in every way possible to try to get them to give it up.

Claude Avery: T.J.'s quiet brother, who allows him to do whatever he wants to him because he is afraid of him. Claude even takes a beating for T.J.

Jeremy Simms: A young sad-looking white boy who wants to befriend Stacey and the other children. Everyone is suspicious of him, because he seems to hate his own family and be willing to accept beatings from his family to be friends with the Logans, who often tell him to go away. He is always good-natured around the Logans, though.

Lillian Jean Simms: Jeremy's sister, who insults Cassie. Cassie tricks her into becoming friends with her, gets her to tell all her secrets, then beats her up. Lillian Jean is confused. She did not understand Cassie at all--she assumed that Cassie liked being treated as a slave.

Daisy Crocker: Cassie and Little Man's teacher. She accepts racism and teaches in an ignorant and boring way.

Mr. Morrison: A very strong man who comes to live with the Logans because he lost his job and Papa wants a man around to protect them when he is not there. Mr. Morrison has been terrorized by white people all his life, but he is not afraid of them. He is a quiet but brave man.

Mr. Jamison: A kind-hearted and just white man who offers to provide credit for any black person who wants to shop somewhere other than the racist Wallace store. He respects his black neighbors. He even tries to protect T.J. while endangering his own life. The Logans are grateful to him.

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