Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Chapter 7 Summary
- Stacey has given his coat to T.J., since he is sick of T.J. making fun of him. Suddenly, T.J. doesn't think it looks like it belongs to a fat preacher anymore. Instead, it's the best coat in the world.
- Uncle Hammer thinks Stacey is an idiot for doing this, and won't make him get the coat back from T.J.
- He tries to teach Stacey a lesson about T.J.: that he's one of those people Stacey will meet in life who will just want to drag him down.
- It's clear Stacey isn't ready to accept this yet.
- Meanwhile, in elementary-school feuds, Lillian Jean has been flouncing around Cassie with a bit more snottiness than usual.
- Cassie contemplates taking down both Lillian Jean and T.J. for their rude behavior.
- On the day before Christmas, Papa returns from his railroad job.
- On Christmas Eve, amidst the holiday scents of foods baking and sizzling, Papa, Uncle Hammer, Big Ma, and Mr. Morrison all tell stories of their youths and their families.
- We love family stories!
- Oh. But these family stories aren't all great. Here's a sad story from Mr. Morrison: his parents were killed by night men on Christmas, because a white woman accused their neighbors of "molesting" her (7.44).
- The night men killed the people with swords, and then burned their houses down.
- Mr. Morrison's mother couldn't save his sisters, but she threw Mr. Morrison out of the house before he could be burned.
- We find out that Mr. Morrison's parents were what is called "breeded stock." This means they were slaves who were bred as if they were farm animals, for particular traits (here, strength).
- Okay, we feel a little sick now.
- Mr. Morrison's mom and dad fought the night men hard, but still died. He was only six years old when this happened.
- Cassie wakes up in the middle of the night to hear the adults talking.
- Big Ma is saying that they shouldn't be "messin' with these folks down in here" (7.57).
- But Mama is majorly ticked off. She doesn't want members of the black community shopping at the Wallace store, since it's corrupting their children and adding liquor charges to the families' bills.
- Uncle Hammer is for more direct action: he wants to burn them out.
- Apparently, Big Ma is taking some kind of legal action so that there's no way Mr. Granger will pull some kind of trick and take the land when she passes away.
- She is afraid to use the land to back other people's credit so they can shop in Vicksburg.
- Papa agrees: he wants to find another way to help out the others.
- Papa sees Cassie has woken up, and takes her back to bed. He reassures her that they are not going to lose their land.
- On Christmas morning, the Logan children each receive a book from Mama: Stacey: The Count of Monte Cristo; Cassie: The Three Musketeers; Christopher-John and Little Man: two volumes of Aesop's Fables.
- What, no Millennium Falcon Lego set? Worst Christmas ever.
- J/K: the children treasure the books, and they also get licorice, oranges, and bananas, as well as some clothing from Uncle Hammer.
- After church, the Averys come to the Logans for Christmas dinner.
- Toward the end of the evening, there is a knock at the door. It's Jeremy Simms. Um...awkward!
- He brings a gift for Stacey: a handmade wooden flute. After Jeremy leaves, T.J. urges Stacey to get rid of the flute, but he refuses.
- Papa hates to burst a good bubble, but he can't help but point out that being besties with a white boy is probably not an Awesome Idea.
- Sure: while they're kiddos, it's all fine and dandy, but once they grow up, their different skin colors will create all sorts of problemos that will be just too hard to overcome.
- But Stacey puts the flute Jeremy has made for him in his "box of treasured things" (7.111). Aw. That warms our icy hearts.
- The day after Christmas, all of the Logan kids get a whipping from Papa because of their previous foray to the Wallace store.
- Then the men take off to Vicksburg to take care of some mysterious business.
- Mr. Jamison comes over after the Logan men return home. He brings a fruitcake and lemon drops for the kids.
- Cassie sees the men and Mr. Jamison looking at a bunch of papers, and signing them.
- She overhears Mr. Jamison say that once the papers are signed, the land will now be in Papa and Uncle Hammer's names, and not Big Ma's.
- Before he leaves, Mr. Jamison brings up the fact that he's heard about the local people wanting to shop in Vicksburg. But why?
- It turns out that Papa, Uncle Hammer and Mr. Morrison had gone into Vicksburg earlier that day to find out about getting credit so that about thirty families could shop there.
- Surprisingly, Mr. Jamison offers to back the credit.
- Uncle Hammer points out that if Mr. Jamison does this, he will be very unpopular. (With the white families. Probably pretty popular with the black families.)
- Mr. Jamison counters by saying the same of the Logan family. He also points out that a lot of the white people around the area resent their independence because of their land.
- Like Harlan Granger. If the Logans use their land to back the credit, Mr. Jamison warns them, Mr. Granger will take every opportunity to get the land back from them.
- We find out that Mr. Granger also gets a share of the Wallace store's money, along with some of Mr. Montier's and Mr. Harrison's sharecroppers' money. If all of the sharecroppers stop shopping at the Wallace store, Mr. Granger will flip.
- But, the biggest danger of boycotting the Wallace store would basically be accusing the Wallaces of the burnings and lynchings and saying that they should be punished for it.
- Before he leaves, Mr. Jamison points out that the Logans can't ever win against the Grangers or the Wallaces.
- Papa says that doesn't matter—they have to try. And maybe the kids will be able to succeed if the adults can't.
- Several days later, Papa, Uncle Hammer and Mr. Morrison go to Vicksburg for two days, and return with a wagon loaded up with food and supplies. It seems that the boycott has started.
- Uh-oh. Here comes Mr. Granger.
- After Mr. Granger drives up in his slick car, he starts talking down to Uncle Hammer, calling him "citified," and accusing him of thinking he's too good to work in the fields (7.166).
- Uncle Hammer basically schools Mr. Granger. He tells him that he can earn much more money working in the North for "man's wages" (7.167).
- The difference between what Uncle Hammer makes working in the North and what people like Mr. Granger pay black men in the South is pret-ty clear.
- There's a big threat war, and finally Mr. Granger leaves with the final word: there are lots of ways to stop Papa and Uncle Hammer from what they are doing.
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