Quotes from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Mildred D. Taylor ·  288 pages

Rating: (99.7K votes)


“There are things you can't back down on, things you gotta take a stand on. But it's up to you to decide what them things are. You have to demand respect in this world, ain't nobody just gonna hand it to you. How you carry yourself, what you stand for--that's how you gain respect. But, little one, ain't nobody's respect worth more than your own.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“Baby, we have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“She grabbed his arm. "Let it be, son!" she cried. "That child ain't hurt!"
"Not hurt! You look into her eyes and tell me she ain't hurt!”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“It's tough out there, boy, and 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.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“Roll of thunder hear my cry   Over the water bye and bye   Ole man comin’ down the line   Whip in hand to beat me down But I ain’t gonna let him Turn me ’round”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry



“Then if you want something and it's a good thing and you got it in the right way, you better hang on to it and don't let nobody talk you out of it. 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.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“One word can sometimes be sharper than a thousand swords”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“Now one day, maybe I can forgive John Andersen for what he done to these trees, but I ain't gonna forget it. I figure forgiving is not letting something nag at you—rotting you out.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“You have to demand respect in this world, ain't nobody just going to hand it to you. How you carry yourself, what you stand for-- thats how you gain respect. but little one aint nobody's respect worth more than your own”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“Baby, we have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry



“There are things you can’t back down on, things you gotta take a stand on. But it’s up to you to decide what them things are.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“There'll be a whole lot of things you ain't gonna want to do, but you'll have to do in this life just so you can survive.
'Now, I don't like the idea of what Charlie Simms did to you no more than your Uncle Hammer, but I had to weigh the hurt of what happened to you to what could've happened if I went after him. If I'd-a gone after Charlie Simms and given him a good thrashin', like I felt like doing, the hurt to all of us would've been a whole lot more than the hurt to you. So I let it be. I don't like letting it be, but I can live with that decision.
'But there are other things, Cassie, that if I'd let be, they'd eat away at me and destroy me in the end. And it's the same with you, baby. There are things you can't back down on. Things you gotta take a stand on, but it's up to you to decide what them things are.
'You have to demand respect in this world. Ain't nobody just gonna hand it to you. How you carry yourself, what you stand for, that's how you gain respect. But little one, ain't nobody's respect worth more than your own. You understand that?'
'Now, there ain't no sense going around being mad. You clear your head so you can think sensibly. Then I want you to think real hard about whether Lillian Jean's worth taking a stand about. But keep in mind that Lillian Jean probably won't be the last white person to think you this way.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“flute. As I stood in the doorway, he lingered over it, then, carefully rewrapping it, placed it in his box of treasured things. I never saw the flute again. *”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“Biting the hand that feeds you, that's what you're doing Mary Logan, biting the hand that feeds you.'
Again Mama laughed, 'If that's the case, Daisy, I don't think I need that little bit of food.'
With the second book finished, she stared at a small pile of second grade books on her desk.
'Well, I just think you're spoiling those children, Mary. They've got to learn how things are sometime.'
'Maybe so,' said Mama. 'But that doesn't mean they have to accept them. And maybe we don't either.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“As soon as we were outside, I whipped my hand from his. 'What's the matter with you? You know he was wrong.'
Stacey swallowed to flush his anger, then said gruffly, "I know it, and you know it, but he don't know it, and that's where the trouble is. Now come on before you get us into a real mess.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry



“In 1930 the price of cotton dropped. And so, in the spring of 1931, Papa set out looking for work, going as far north as Memphis and as far south as the Delta country. He had gone west too, into Louisiana. It was there he found work laying track for the railroad. He worked the remainder of the year away from us, not returning until the deep winter when the ground was cold and barren. The following spring after the planting was finished, he did the same. Now it was 1933, and Papa was again in Louisiana laying track. I”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“It was only then that I realized that Jeremy never rode the bus, no matter how bad the weather. As”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“White ain't nothing.'
Mama's grip did not lessen. 'It is something, Cassie. White is something just like black is something. Everybody born on this Earth is something, and nobody, no matter what color is better than anybody else.'
'Then how come Mr. Simms don't know that.'
'Because he's one of those people who has to believe that white people are better than black people to make himself feel big.'
I stared questionably at Mama, not really understanding.
Mama squeezed my hadn't and explained further, 'You see, Cassie, many years ago, when our people were fist brought from Africa in chains to work as slaves in this country--'
'Like Big Ma's Papa and Mama?'
Mama nodded. "Yes, baby. Like Papa Luke and Mama Rachel. Except they were born right here is Mississippi, but their grandparents were born in Africa. And when they came, there was some white people who thought that is was wrong for any people to be slaves. So the people who needed slaves to work in their fields and the people who were making money bringing slaves from Africa preached that black people weren't really people like white people were, so slavery was all right. They also said that slavery was good for us because it thought us to be good Christians, like the white people.'
She sighed deeply, her voice fading into a distant whisper, 'But they didn't teach us Christianity to save our souls, but to teach us obedience. They were afraid of slave revolts and they wanted us to learn the Bible's teachings about slaves being loyal to their masters. But even teaching Christianity didn't make us stop wanting to be free, and many slaves ran away.”
...
She was silent for a moment, then went on. 'Well, after a while, slavery became so profitable to people who had slaves and even to those who didn't that most people started to believe that black people weren't really people like everybody else. And when the Civil War was fought, and Mama Rachel and Papa Luke and all the other slaves were freed, people continued to think that way. Even the Northeners who fought the war didn't really see us equal to white people.
'So, now, even though seventy years have passed since slavery, most white people still think of us as they did then, that we're not as good as they are. And people like Mr. Simms hold onto that belief harder than some other folks because they have little else to hold onto. For him to believe that he is better than we are makes him think that he's important, simply because he's white.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“Little Man turned around and watched saucer-eyed as a bus bore down on him spewing clouds of red dust like a huge yellow dragon breathing fire. Little Man headed toward the bank, but it was too steep. He ran frantically along the road looking for a foothold and, finding one, hopped onto the bank, but not before the bus had sped past enveloping him in a scarlet haze while laughing white faces pressed against the bus windows. Little”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“He was often ridiculed by the other children at his school and had shown up more than once with wide red welts on his arms which Lillian Jean, his older sister, had revealed with satisfaction were the result of his associating with us. Still, Jeremy continued to meet us. When”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry



“I'm a Southerner, born and bred, but that doesn't mean I approve of all that goes on here. And there are a lot of other white people who feel the same'
'If you and so many others feel that way,' said Uncle Hammer with a wry sneer, 'then how come them Wallaces ain't in jail.'
'Hammer,' Big Ma started.
'Because,' answered Mr. Jamison candidly. 'There aren't enough of those same white people who would admit how they feel, or even if they did, would hang a white man for killing a black one. It's as simple as that.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“Because the students were needed in the fields from early spring when the cotton was planted until after most of the cotton had been picked in the fall, the school adjusted its terms accordingly, beginning in October and dismissing in March.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


“did not blame others for his own stupidity; he learned from his mistake and became stronger for it.”
― Mildred D. Taylor, quote from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


About the author

Mildred D. Taylor
Born place: in Jackson, Mississippi, The United States
Born date September 13, 1943
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