Mildred Taylor’s, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, is an incredibly picturesque vision of the struggles faced by African American citizens in the 1930’s. Ten-year-old Cassie narrates the story of her family – black landowners who remain grounded despite turmoil of the depression and Civil War. Cassie and her three brothers are forced to abandon naivety and recognize that white individuals truly view themselves supreme and will stop at nothing to ensure that every person – black or white – understands it. At times, black and white ideals remain stark – loyal to one’s own color, a persistent prejudice of others unlike one’s own. Other times, color lines are blurred and grayer areas emerge.
This is a story for anyone who loves a story. It does not matter what genre of reading one prefers. It is simply a story that needs to be read, so that we have a better understanding of faith, violence, hope, and courage and how these ideas existed in the world. Hatred was alive and exhausting in 1933, as it still is (though no one seems courageous enough to admit it) today. Combating negativity, the love of family, too existed, and it persevered and flourished during difficult times and joyful times, alike.
It is a story to be read, absorbed in the quiet of one’s heart, and then reflected upon without being so quiet. Taylor is truly a magnificent storyteller who acknowledges that without God, or any father figure for that matter, we might not know how deep our roots can grow – even if we are as small as a fig tree in the midst of the mighty oaks.
Gary gives it 4/4 paws.