It used horses in their night rides.

It doesn’t purr like a kitten, but growls like a lion. It’s chrome even shines in the rain. Anyone would want Mr. Granger’s Packard; actually, anyone would want Uncle Hammer’s Packard which is newer. Only a few characters in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry own cars. Throughout the book, African American families and many white families walk or travel by horse and wagon. The Berrys have an old Model T Ford and the Wallaces drive their menacing pick up truck. With a car comes power, independence, and defiance. As a result, those without one succumb to intimidation, fear, and envy. After a long, difficult day in Strawberry,  the children put their horse in the barn only to make a stark and ominous realization: Mr. Granger’s Packard is in the way. Immediately panic strikes Stacey. This can only mean only mean one thing, if Mr. Granger is at their home it could only mean trouble. He uses his car as a tool to wield power. However, he does not use his power for good. This car causes African Americans to retreat from a bridge they have already started to cross, only to allow Mr. Granger to cross first. Thankfully, it isn’t Mr. Granger’s car, but Uncle Hammer’s. Mildred D. Taylor uses the car effectively as symbol to instill suspense for the reader through Stacey’s and Cassie’s fear.  The Wallace’s car intimidates African Americans as it roars up and down roads in the dark night and fosters fear. Before, night men like the Wallaces used horses in their night rides. Now they have traded their horses for the pick up truck. It’s lights do not allow its victims to hide and it can surpass the speed of horses. The cars continue to perpetuate the conflict between the races. Although the cars have a negative impact, they also provide Uncle Hammer the power of independence and even defiance. Uncle Hammer can live and work in Chicago and then spend the holidays with his family in Mississippi. His car allows him to travel freely, something few other African Americans can do. They are tethered to the land or at least as far as they can walk or their horse can travel. Furthermore,  Uncle Hammer uses his Packard to dupe the Wallaces. As he approaches Soldier’s Bridge, he sees the Wallaces have already started across it. He accelerates and they reverse their course thinking it is Mr. Granger. In one more act of defiance, Uncle Hammer tips his hat to the Wallaces further demonstrating the power the Packard provides. In the end, the car is a simply a symbol. It isn’t one that matters to the Logans compared to their land.  Uncle Hammer sells his Packard to help meet the  final mortgage payment. As he states, the car would not grow cotton or provide a home for a family. However, the car for a while provides him freedom other African Americans do not have. It even helps him defy society’s belief that he is less than whites like the Wallaces. To Mr. Granger and the Wallaces it is one more way to elevate themselves over others and force their will and ideals. They will never change and will continue to dominate others through their power, no matter the form it takes.