What is the construction of education in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry?

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Education in the rural South in the 1930s was divided by social class and race. Wealthy white children went to private schools within the towns or cities, while middle- and lower-class white children attended less desirable schools. African American children fared even worse and were forced to attend schools with little funding and few qualified teachers. The school that Cassie Logan and her siblings attend has to make do with secondhand books that are outdated and damaged. These books are only made available after the white schools have no use for them.

Within the novel, it is clear that every effort is made to make education within the African American community more difficult. The children are not provided with any transportation, and the school is located in an area that forces most children to walk many miles to attend. The school that Cassie and her siblings attend is overseen by a council of white landowners, who often are critical of the teaching methods and curriculum.

Socioeconomic factors also impact education within the novel. The African American community includes many families that rely on the income from their crops to continue to pay the landowners. As a result, many children are either far behind their grade level or simply drop out. This lack of education plays an important historical part in the continued inequalities of the races within the time.

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