Thunder Roles

6, 7, 8

We observe how power and privilege are used to keep African American families oppressed even after they were freed from slavery. 

PrintTwo Sessions to Reflect on Reading

The learners will:

  • give examples of discrimination and evaluate its effect on a community and its people.
  • analyze the importance of allowing all members of the community to have a voice in decisions affecting their well-being.
  • explore the roles of power and privilege.
  • reader copies of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildren Taylor
  • Taylor, Mildred. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. New York: Puffin Books, 1991.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Talk about the different characters and the perspectives they represent after reading the first four chapters of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Discuss why it is important to listen to a variety of perspectives to get a full picture of how events affect people and situations. 

  2. Define discrimination as the unjust treatment of one group of people, usually based on race. Give examples from the first four chapters of when the Logans and their friends faced discrimination. Talk about the choices African Americans in 1930s had when they faced discrimination. What might have been unsafe about speaking up against injustice? What were some of the bold actions some characters took? What are some quieter and safer choices some characters made? Did their actions move the community toward change?

  3. Compare how different characters respond to racism in chapters 5-6. How does Uncle Hammer respond? Why do others stop him when he flies into a rage? How does Big Ma respond? Why is backing down a way to survive?

    What hardships are created from the boycott of the store? Why must they consider using the farm as "collateral" and how are different people using ownership of the farm as a power play?

    In chapters 7-8, we see a lot of tension over power. Mama's teaching job gives some power and privilege, and this is lost when she loses her job. What are some ways the characters are using resistance as power?

  4. The book Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi gives a readable account of the systemic path of racism through history. Here is an excerpt from the book that talks about how words matter. Discuss what words in the novel raise tension and what words ease tension between the neighbors.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.5 Discuss examples of groups denied their rights in history.