You can find the answer to your question on the dedication page of the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Author Mildred D. Taylor apparently based several of the story's characters on her own father, Wilbert Taylor. Mildred Taylor and her family lived in Jackson, Mississippi, before Wilbert moved them to Toledo, Ohio to escape the racial tensions in the Deep South. David, the father of the Logan family, is one of the characters based on Wilbert. Cassie's father is much-loved and greatly missed when forced to work apart from the family. Stacey, Cassie's older brother, is another. The author must have imagined that her father was like Stacey as a youth, serving as the head of the household while the father was absent, and learning life's lessons in the process. The dedication page reads
"To the memory of my beloved father who lived many adventures of the boy Stacey and who was in essence the man Davind."