Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Chapter 2 Summary
- Cassie's with her bros, toiling away picking cotton on the farm when Papa shows up. He's home from his job on the railroad, and everyone's super pumped to see him.
- But, he's not alone. There's a huge—and we mean huge—guy with him.
- We find out that Cassie's mom had sent her husband a letter, asking him to come home.
- Papa can't stay home longer than one day, or he might lose his job working on the railroad, but he's going to leave behind a little security system.
- Okay, not so little: the security system is L.T. Morrison, the giant. He's going to stay with them for a while, working as their hired hand.
- It turns out that Mr. Morrison was fired from his previous job, because he got into a fight with some white men.
- It probably won't surprise you that the white dudes didn't get fired.
- Mama says something that sounds pretty ominous: "[W]e're glad to have you here...especially now" (2.39).
- Later, Cassie discusses the situation with her brothers. They all figure that Mr. Morrison's arrival has something to do with the burnings.
- The next morning at church, Cassie learns that John Henry Berry (one of the men who had been burned) has died. Ugh.
- Here's the story about the Berrys, told by Mrs. Lanier:
- John Henry and his brother Beacon were in the nearby town of Strawberry getting gas.
- A couple of white men started trouble with them, accusing them of flirting with Sallie Ann. We get the strong impression that Sallie Ann is white.
- The men chased the Berry brothers to their uncle Samuel's house, and then dragged all three out and lit them on fire.
- After Mrs. Lanier finishes the story, Mr. Avery tells the group that a boy was lynched in another town a few days ago.
- We learn that the sheriff won't even listen to Henrietta Toggins (an eyewitness to part of the attack). The white men are actually going around bragging about it, but no one's doing anything.
- The men are also threatening to do this to any other 'uppity nigger who get[s] out of line' (2.58).
- Papa makes what seems to be a random comment: "In this family, we don't shop at the Wallace store" (2.60). Cassie and her brothers don't understand this, and neither do we. Maybe the Wallaces have something to do with the attack?
- After the guests leave, Papa breaks things down for the kids. Lots of trouble comes from the Wallace store (like underage drinking and smoking). Plus, he just doesn't like the Wallaces.
- Papa threatens to "wear y'all out" if he hears of any of his kids up at the Wallace store.
- In other words, he's going to whip them.
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