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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

by Mildred D. Taylor

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Chapter 11 Summary

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Cassie wakes up in the middle of the night when she hears a tapping on the back porch. She knows Mr. Morrison is out front keeping watch for the Wallaces, as he has been every night since the attack on Papa. She does not think Mr. Morrison is responsible for the sounds she hears. She gets out of bed to investigate and finds T.J. outside. She asks what he is doing, but he does not answer. He calls out for Stacey.

Stacey opens the door to the boys’ room, and T.J. asks for help. T.J. explains that the elder Simms brothers took him to Strawberry, promising to buy him the pearl-handled pistol he coveted for so long. The store was closed when the three boys arrived, so the Simmses told T.J. they would break in and take the gun, then come back and pay for it the following Monday. Frightened but believing in his friends’ intentions, T.J. let the Simmses lift him into the store through the window. When he opened the door for them, he saw they were wearing gloves and masks. They stole the pearl-handled pistol for T.J., and they also broke open a cabinet and took out a metal box. The store owner caught them at it and fought with the Simmses, one of whom hit him over the head. Afterward, T.J. threatened to tell on the Simmses, but they beat him badly.

By the time T.J. finishes his story, it is clear he is hurt too badly to get home by himself. Stacey sneaks out to help him. Cassie, Christopher John, and Little Man insist on coming along. At T.J.’s house, the Logan kids see several cars approaching. A group of White men, including the Wallaces and the elder Simms brothers, get out. The Simms brothers—who are pretending they had nothing to do with the robbery in Strawberry—help to drag T.J. and his family out of the house. The men search T.J. and find the pearl-handled pistol. They accuse him of stealing and knocking out the store owner.

The White men want to lynch T.J., but Mr. Jamison arrives and tries to stop them. The mob, angry and violent, threatens to kill Papa and Mr. Morrison as well as T.J. Stacey tells Cassie to go home and get help. Cassie resists until Stacey promises not to intervene until Papa arrives; then she takes the younger boys and runs home.

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