How does the setting of the story affect the characters in Mildred Taylor's novel Let the Circle Be Unbroken?

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This sequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry continues the story of the Logan family, an African-American landowning family in rural Mississippi during the Great Depression.  Written as historical fiction, Taylor explores the issues of race, prejudice, and segregation as they existed in the Deep South during this time; thus, the setting is all important, because the Logans would not be facing the same challenges and dangers if they were living in Minnesota.  Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, white Southerners had figured out all sorts of ways to keep blacks "in their place" through Jim Crow laws, institutional racism, and looking the other way when blacks were mistreated, cheated, and/or terrorized. 

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry ended with the children's friend, T.J., narrowly escaping a lynching for a crime he was not responsible for.  Let the Circle Be Unbroken opens with the community observing T.J.'s less than fair trial, during which he was predictably convicted on flimsy evidence, and sent away, presumably to die.