This story follows the trials of the Logan Family, black farm owners who live in rural Mississippi in the 1930’s. The protagonist, 9 year old Cassie Logan, narrates the story of their daily life and their struggle with racism and unfair treatment.
The story begins with the Logan kids walking to school, where they almost always end up dirty: the school bus for white children drives past them and the driver intentionally tries to spray some dust or mud onto the Logans.
At school, the black kids face very poor conditions when it comes to the learning material like books and the school building.
A few days later Papa shows up with a friend from the railroad. He has brought Mr Morrison to help the family with the farm work after he was fired for getting into a fight with a white man whilst working on the railroad.
When the rain starts and the kids get muddied by the bus on their way to school again, they decide to take revenge: they dig up a hole in the road and the bus slams into it, wrecking the tire. At night the children are terrified that “the night men” (Ku Klux Klan members) will ride out to seek the offenders.
Mama organizes a boycott of the Wallace shop since the abhorrent treatment of black people is linked to the Wallace family. Mr Granger is furious about this and forces his sharecroppers, the Averys (black family) to buy their groceries there.
When TJ, Staceys best friend, breaks into the Wallace shop, the white men try to lynch him and the only thing that saves him is the fire that Papa sets on the edge of the Granger’s land in order to force the mob of angry white men to extinguish the fire instead of killing TJ.
With the help of Uncle Hammer, the Logans can pay off the debt for the land they own.
At the end of the novel, TJ goes to jail and his destiny is uncertain: he might be killed or end up in prison for life. Even though Cassie never really liked TJ that much, she cries about what happened that night.