61. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry & The Motivation to Create

I really enjoy reading, especially children's books. They're not just for children, you know! Sometimes I can find adult wisdom floating throughout the pages, and sometimes it sparks that inner childhood imagination that gets my fingers itching to write something of my own.

I picked up Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry from my school's library and I almost forgot how good this book was. To be honest, I don't think the book moved me as a 7th grader more than it did now. 

Let me back up for a second because I'm sure everyone doesn't know about Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. If you do, great! Keep reading. If you don't, great! Keep reading. I'm sure there's something in this post for everyone.

Quick summary

This book chronicles the life of a family growing up in rural Mississippi in the early 1930s. The Logan family has a unique story, considering the fact that they own a significant piece of land (approximately four hundred acres) during this time. The land is partially paid up by the patriach who purchased the land from a member of the Union after defeating the confederates in the Civil War. Apparently, this doesn't sit too well with a local landowner with a confederate history in his family tree. 

After the confederacy's destruction in the Civil War, the ol' south's money wasn't recognized as U.S. currency. This meant they had trouble paying taxes and sold their land for money to a member of the Union. That Union member, who didn't care one way or another about living in ol' Mississippi, sold it to a freed man -- the patriach of the Logan family. Years later, the descendant of the confederacy desires to have the land back, and the family faces a series of challenges protecting what's rightfully theirs, including the freedoms of the community.

My thoughts on the story

The book is a page-turner! It kept me up at night, making me feel like I was right there in the 30s with the Logan family. There were many people I could identify with, and too many instances that seemed like different parts of the book were written in present day. It goes to show you that as things change, there are some ideologies that remain the same. 

What I loved most about the book was the history. History is the main reason why I find it offensive that the book was banned from schools. Folks were upset because they read the dreaded "N" word. In a book. Set in Mississippi. In the 30s. I don't know where all these sunshine and rainbows people live, but to cut out the very documentation of our country's history, both the good and not so good, is to deny it ever existed. Then, when the "offensive" things that are of historical importance gets erased, folks begin denying that certain abominable things happened. Folks can walk around having the gall to tell people to "get over" their history, their ancestors' struggles, their identity.

I will never "get over" my history.

Although my reading list is balanced, I'll say one thing. Reading books like Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, books of historical importance, reminds me so much of why I can't just have a story inside of me and just allow it to waste away inside of me. Everything my ancestors have worked for has allowed me, a beneficiary, to receive opportunities that they never had a chance to see. 

Takeaways

There're just some books that rock you to your core. They make you hold your breath while reading a big reveal, they make you laugh when you can picture a character that seems all too familiar, it'll make you tear up thinking about the realities of life. It'll move you to create something that's bigger than yourself. That's what re-reading Roll of Thunder did for me. 

Regardless of how I feel about something, I have to write my story. I must write stories that will hopefully motivate, inspire, entertain, educate, and fill readers with joy for generations to come. Mildred D. Taylor, I salute you, and I hope more people follow in your footsteps to tell a story true to themselves, true to history, and true to life.

Honor your ancestors by telling their story and by documenting your own. See how far you've come and what action you can take for the work left to be done.