Let the Circle Be Unbroken Study Guide

Let the Circle Be Unbroken

Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred Taylor

Let the Circle Be Unbroken follows the lives of the Logans, a black family living in the Jim Crow-era south. Their oldest son, Stacey, struggles with growing into a man in a world where black boys like himself are wrongfully accused of crimes by the authorities. Suzella, his cousin, deals with additional difficulties because of her mixed-race and her ability to pass for white. The experiences of the Logan family as portrayed in this award winning children's novel highlight themes of perseverance, racism, and the importance of family.

Let the Circle Be Unbroken Book Summary

The Logan family goes through hard times trying to raise their children the correct way. T.J. Avery, Stacey's friend, is accused of murdering a white man, Jim Lee Barnett. Although he is innocent, he is tried by an all-white jury and convicted. Stacey does everything in his power to help his friend, but in the end, T.J. is sentenced to death.

A man makes a file to join blacks and whites together so the cotton fields can be shared. The union does not succeed and the man who wanted to start it is beaten. Some people are told that they need to pull up the acres that were already planted because they planted too much. The plantation owners lied, claiming the government ordered it, but the plantation owners did it in order to receive money that was supposed to go to the sharecroppers.

Mama's cousin Bud's daughter Suzella, who has a black father and a white mother, lives with the Logans. Suzella is exonerated for being attractive and mixed, making her seem like a prize to all the males in the town because she is technically black and therefore accessible, but still has the lighter skin, hair and eyes; she can be assumed as white. Suzella struggles with identity issues that put a strain on her relationships with others. She catches the eye of Stuart Walker, a white boy who flirts with pretty colored girls to start trouble. When Stuart approaches her he genuinely respects her, assuming she is white. This takes a great toll on Stacey; he believes he must take care of his family before they lose their land. He and his best friend Moe run away to a sugarcane field to work. With the help of Mr. Jamison, a white lawyer who is kind and fair to black people, Mama, Papa and Caroline Logan (Big Ma) contact police stations in the next couple of towns. They address the letters in Mr. Jamison's name so that when the sheriffs receive the letters they will respond. Mr. Jamison says that if they see a black family name on the letters they probably will not respond. Seven months later, they find Stacey several hours away, jailed in a small town in Louisiana. Stacey and Moe were accused of stealing which put them in jail, where they became ill. While Stacey was at the cane field a pole rolled over his foot and broke it. Before they drive home, they stop by the house of a lady who took care of Stacey and Moe while they were in jail and thank her. They stay the night there and the next morning return home.

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