In Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, what is Uncle Hammer's reaction when he learns that Stacey has given his new coat to T.J.?
Uncle Hammer gives Stacey a good "tongue-lashing" which is far more effective, and far more forbidding, in Cassie's estimation, than "Papa's bottom-warming whippings". Uncle Hammer tells Mama, who has ordered Stacey to get the coat back, that the coat can stay where it is, because "if Stacey's not smart enough to hold on to a good coat, he don't deserve it". He says that Stacey has a brain of his own and shouldn't care what T.J. or anyone else thinks or says about him. He tells Stacey, "as long as there are people, there's gonna be somebody trying to take what you got and trying to drag you down...it's up to you whether you let them or not...you care what a lot of useless people say 'bout you you'll never get anywhere, 'cause there's a lotta folks don't want you to make it".
Uncle Hammer's message is personal responsiblity - Stacey needs to know his own mind and be unafraid to stand up for himself if he wants to get along in the world; others can and will take advantage of him only if he permits them to. His point is well taken - he never "laid a hand on Stacey, but Stacey shook visibly from the encounter". This is a lesson Stacey will never forget (Chapter 7).