Study Guide

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Chapter 11

By Mildred D. Taylor

Chapter 11

  • The chapter is prefaced with an epigraph: a spiritual that the book was named after (see "What's Up With the Epigraph" for the lowdown).
  • The storm is still lingering, and thunder rolls as Mr. Morrison keeps watch over the house.
  • Cassie hears a tapping at the door, and answers it. It's T.J.
  • He's hurt really badly. Cassie brings him into the house.
  • T.J. reveals that R.W. and Melvin have beaten him severely. He asks Stacey to help him get home.
  • The Simms brothers beat T.J. because he threatened to tell what happened earlier that night.
  • And here's what happened:
  • The trio had gone into Strawberry to get the pistol that T.J. wanted. R.W. and Melvin goaded T.J. into breaking into Mr. Barnett's store, and told him that if he got caught, they would just tell Mr. Barnett that they needed the gun and had every intention of paying for it the next day.
  • T.J. snuck into the store to take the pistol, and R.W. and Melvin, wearing masks, entered also.
  • The noise caused Mr. Barnett to wake up, and he came on the scene to see the three in his store.
  • Mr. Barnett tried to take the cash box from Melvin, and the two struggled. R.W. hit Mr. Barnett, and he fell down like he was dead.
  • Then, Mrs. Barnett came down, and seeing the masked figures, thought that all three were black men.
  • After the three made their escape, T.J. demanded to be taken home. The Simms brothers refused, and T.J. threatened to tell everyone about what had just happened.
  • They then beat him and went to play pool, leaving T.J. gravely injured in the back of their truck.
  • T.J. got a ride from a farmer, and ended up at the Logans' house.
  • Stacey thinks that T.J. is lying, but T.J. swears he is telling the truth this time.
  • Eventually, all of the Logan children wake up and help Stacey get T.J. home.
  • As soon as T.J. slips through his bedroom window, several cars drive up from the direction of Mr. Granger's house. This is definitely not good.
  • It's the Simms, the Wallaces, and several other white men. They demand that T.J. come out, and accuse him of being a murderer.
  • Cassie and her brothers watch in horror as Melvin and R.W. smash their way inside the house and drag out Mr. and Mrs. Avery, their daughters, and Claude.
  • Finally, T.J. is dragged out—even more badly beaten than before.
  • The Simms find the pearl-handled pistol on T.J.
  • It's clear that these men are also looking for the "other two black men" (a.k.a. R.W. and Melvin) that T.J. was supposedly with.
  • Of course, R.W. and Melvin aren't exactly stepping up to confess.
  • Mr. Jamison drives up and tries to stop what is happening. But Thurston Wallace threatens to hurt him, too, if he doesn't stop meddling in things.
  • Mr. Jamison asks the men to give T.J. to him and the sheriff.
  • Someone in the crowd shouts out that they should "do it now" (clearly, meaning to hang T.J. right then and there).
  • Just then, the sheriff shows up. He makes it clear that Mr. Granger will be unhappy if anything happens on his land, but, you know, if the white men take T.J. off of Granger land …
  • Someone in the crowd shouts that they should also "take care of" Mr. Morrison and Papa at the same time. And hey, they just so happen to have three ropes with them.
  • Yikes. The Logan kids run off to get Papa.