Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a novel that immerses readers in the everyday struggles faced by African Americans living in the rural American South in the 1930s. Cassie and her siblings are encouraged to pursue education, not only because their mother is a teacher, but also because they are landowners. Landownership was unique in a land where sharecropping was the norm. This sets the Logan family apart and allows them to be independent of white landowners. Cassie's parents help their children develop common sense that keeps them safe in their environment; this includes an understanding that at times they have to act as subordinates to white people.
The Logan family help their children have pride in themselves and where they come from. They were encouraged to dream and hope for a better future. All these skills give Cassie and her siblings more freedom than they would have normally enjoyed. To a certain extent, they have agency over themselves and the decisions they make, but no agency over their environment. They can choose how to act with each other and other African Americans, but they are not free to do as they wish within the white community. Segregation laws were strictly enforced at the time, and the Logan family has to conform to survive.