A fiery and intelligent girl, Cassie is fiercely loyal to her family. She is often outspoken and gets in scrapes with her peers, but has a good sense of right and wrong. She loves her brother Stacey, but she is disturbed that he has less time for her because he is growing up. She does not care for her cousin Suzella at first, but eventually comes to respect and even like her. She teaches Mrs. Lee Annie about government and politics. By the end of the novel her parents give her a few more privileges.
Cassie's beloved older brother, Stacey grows up as the novel progresses. He becomes taller, quieter but more also more assertive, and more aware of his place in the family and the world. He has a strong sense of justice and loyalty to his family, which leads him to leave home to look for a job in the cane fields to help the family keep their land. While there, he works hard but is denied the money he is owed. He is suspected of stealing the money and thrown in jail; this is where his family finally locates him.
Papa (David Logan)
A handsome, dignified, and self-assured man, he works hard for his family. He tends to the fields and leaves to make extra money on the railroad because he is worried about paying taxes on the land. He has a calm but stern demeanor and does not brook insults to himself or his family, though he does have to quell his anger when faced with whites. He spends the latter half of the novel looking for Stacey.
Mama (Mary Logan)
A lovely, independent, and fiery woman, Mama loves her family and was a teacher before Mr. Granger arranged for her to be fired because he did not like her participating in a boycott. She still holds school sessions and helps out on the farm. While she has a good relationship with her husband, she is angry when he leaves to work on the railroad because she thinks he needs to be with his family (particularly Stacey). She also has a very hard time when Stacey leaves.
Papa and Uncle Hammer's mother, she lives with the Logans and is a wise and kind figure. She is a very good cook and has a no-nonsense but kind persona.
One of the Logan children, Christopher-John is playful and friendly.
Little Man Logan
One of the Logan children, Little Man is playful and friendly. He is very close to his father.
Mrs. Lee Annie
An elderly neighbor and close friend of the Logans, she is Wordell and Russell's grandmother. She is tenaciously committed to educating herself about government and the federal and state constitutions, and eventually decides she will take a stand and try to register to vote. Her family and friends' warnings prove accurate when she and the other sharecropping Ellises are thrown off Harlan Granger's land.
Mrs. Lee Annie's grandson, Wordell is usually mute and has a stoic demeanor. He feels most at home in the forest, likes to play music, and cares deeply for animals and people. He is a mystery to most people, but Cassie grows close to him.
One of the Ellis boys and a friend of the children, Son-Boy has a marble that Cassie covets.
Don Lee Ellis
Son-Boy's brother and a friend of the children. He dies from scarlet fever.
Little Willie Wiggins
One of Stacey's best friends.
A poorer teen, Dube's family are sharecroppers and have difficulty making ends meet. He is a proud boy, but he stutters. He is very active in the union movement.
Mrs. Lee Annie's grandson, he is in the Army and occasionally comes home to visit. He is handsome and amiable and everyone who knows him admires him. He is interested in the union and tries to reason with the crowd of dispossessed farmers at the end of the novel. He and Suzella kiss before she leaves.
Mr. Tom Bee
A cousin of Mrs. Lee Annie's, he is an elderly man and a close friend of the Logan family.
The mother of Son-Boy and Don Lee. She and her family are thrown off their land when Mrs. Lee Annie tries to vote.
One of Stacey's best friends, T.J. gets caught up with the Simms brothers because he admires them. They rob a store and kill the proprietor; even though the Simms boys did it, T.J. finds himself on trial for murder. He is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
Mr. Jim Lee Barnett
The proprietor of the store that T.J. and the Simms boys rob. He is killed in the robbery.
Mrs. Lettie Love
The Sunday School teacher.
A young man of limited mental capacity, Joe is friendly and often hangs out with Wordell, who looks after him.
One of the children's friends.
One of the children's friends and the brother of Little Willie.
Lou Ella Hicks
The older sister of Son-Boy and Don Lee, and mother to a baby named 'Doris Anne'.
A friend of the children.
One of Stacey's friends, Moe and his family are sharecroppers. Smart and ambitious, Moe ardently desires to get out and finish his education, but the realities of sharecropping will not let him. He and Stacey run away together to work in the cane fields.
The lawyer for T.J., Mr. Jamison is a white man but free from the prejudices of his white peers. He is moral, hardworking, and intelligent. He suffers a lot of backlash in the community for taking T.J.'s case. He is also active in helping the Logans track Stacey down.
A callous, devious, and greedy white landowner who is always endeavoring to buy the Logans' two hundred acres which abut his own. He tries to manipulate them (to no success) and is harsh with his sharecroppers. He turns the Ellises off his land when Mrs. Lee Annie tries to register to vote, and skillfully directs the angry crowd of dispossessed farmers into thinking that if they want a union they will have to embrace the breakdown of segregation.
A nearly seven-foot-tall black, he lives and works with the Logans. He is kind but formidable figure, and even local whites are afraid of him (especially since he once broke a white man's back). He is an ever-present help to the family and is very loved by them.
Mr. John Farnsworth
The first county agent the farmers deal with, he is keenly aware of and sympathetic to the farmers, whom he has to tell to plow up their cotton or not plant. A group of white men beat him nearly to death, and the children save his life.
The young brother of the Simms boys, Jeremy is white but not prejudiced. He tries to be friends with the Logan children, who like him for his kindness and guilelessness.
One of the cruel and ignorant Simms boys who robs Barnett's store and puts the blame for his death on T.J.
One of the cruel and ignorant Simms boys who robs Barnett's store and puts the blame for his death on T.J.
The town's black minister.
The prosecuting attorney in T.J.'s case who inflames the whites in the crowd and helps secure the boy's conviction.
Mrs. Jim Lee Barnett
The wife of Jim Barnett, the shopkeeper killed in the robbery. She testifies against T.J., but, through Mr. Jamison's questions, she comes to doubt that the boy and other black men were the ones who killed her husband.
The white judge who presides over T.J.'s case.
Mr. Justice Overton
A respectable man who testifies that he saw the Simms' truck.
Joe Billy Montier
The white son of a local landowner. Joe Billy is generally a good guy, but he keeps company with other young men who are much more arrogant and prejudiced.
A wealthy white young man and friend of Joe Billy. He is stuck-up and mean and likes to seduce young black women, including Jacey, whom he impregnates. He tries to humiliate Cousin Bud, Suzella's father, once he realizes that Suzella is not white as she led him to believe. He denounces the union as Communist and tries to suppress the angry poor blacks and whites who resent his father turning them off his land.
Mrs. Myrtis Crandell
Cassie's teacher who gets upset with her for criticizing Senator Bilbo, even though deep down it seems like she understands Cassie's sentiments.
Mary Lou Wellever
One of Cassie's friends at church and school. Cassie occasionally gets annoyed with her because she is a bit silly and superficial; she also beats her up when Mary Lou suggests Stacey might be dead.
The white union organizer. His efforts ultimately fail.
Papa's brother and Big Ma's son; he has no wife or children, but comes to visit the Logans. The townspeople have always seen him as a success because he left, has a bit more money, and drives nice cars. He is tall and strong and opinionated, which sometimes intimidates Cassie and her younger brothers. He is a fierce advocate for his fellow black people and does not want his nieces and nephews associating with whites.
A pretty black girl in the tenth grade on whom Stacey has a crush. Stuart Walker seduces and impregnates her.
A black man who does not ingratiate himself with the townspeople due to his sneering, meddlesome attitude. He picks fights with Uncle Hammer and tries to court Suzella. He is an inveterate gambler and prone to violence. At the end of the novel he loses an eye in the demonstration and blames Russell.
Cousin Bud Rankin
Mama's cherished cousin who comes to visit and asks if his daughter Suzella can stay with the family. He married a white woman, but they separate and eventually divorce. Suzella's attempt to pass as white leads to his humiliation at Stuart Walker's hands.
The daughter of Cousin Bud and a white woman, Suzella is mixed blood but does not see herself as black. She comes to stay with the family and everyone is charmed by her beauty; Cassie, though, is initially annoyed with her, but she eventually comes to like her by the end of her stay. Suzella pretends to be white when Stuart Walker flirts with her; this later leads to her father's humiliation at the young man's hands. Suzella does not want to marry a black man but does develop feelings for Russell before she leaves.
The new county agent sent in to replace Farnsworth, he is timid and afraid of violence. He also does not seem to relish telling farmers to stop planting or to plow up their work.
The black union organizer. He is killed in the aftermath of the union house's burning.
The supervisor in charge of hiring at the construction site for the new hospital. He is impressed by Stacey but cannot hire him until he is 16.
A white landowner whose land borders the Logans'. He offers Stacey a job but Mama forbids it because she does not want Stacey doing labor for a white man.
A boy on whom Cassie develops a crush.
Moe's father and a sharecropper. He is stuck in the cycle of poverty but hopes his son will get out; this seems difficult since he is forced to destroy most of his cotton crop.
One of Cassie's classmates and friends.
Mrs. Mabel Thompson
Cassie's new teacher.
Miss Daisy Crocker
Cassie's former teacher, for whom she does not care very much.
Mr. Tate Sutton
A white man. He and his wife helped Farnsworth after the children left him at their house. He is somewhat civil.
The Simms boys' father. He is prejudiced and disrespectful.
A young white man who is friends with Stuart and Joe Billy. He helps humiliate Cousin Bud along with Stuart.
The registrar where Mrs. Lee Annie tries to vote.
The supervisor at the registrar's office.
Mrs. Mattie Jones
An old black woman who helps Stacey and Moe while they are in the jail at Shokesville.
One of the boys who works in the cane fields with Stacey and Moe; he decides to steal the money they are owed.
One of the boys who works in the cane fields with Stacey and Moe; he decides to steal the money they are owed along with Charlie.
One of the boys who works in the cane fields with Stacey and Moe; he does not want to steal the money and goes along with Stacey and Moe. He is shot and killed because white men assume he stole the money.
Let the Circle be Unbroken Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Let the Circle be Unbroken is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.