It seems that we're in Kansas, in an African American community, in 1912 and beyond.
Whenever I go on vacation, I try to read some books by
African American authors. I think I only managed this one this year. The issue for me, is that I can't possibly understand other people, unless I learn about them by reading about their lives (African Americans, Japanese, Chinese, etc.). This book, although written some 87 years ago, is still a fresh lens to help us privileged, comfortably well-off white folks see ourselves as others see us; others in this case, being African Americans.
An additional interesting thing about this book is that it follows the life of a young, African American boy who lived in Kansas, from about 1912 to 1918 or so. The boy was something like 7 to 14 over this period (fuzzy math). My mother was a young girl growing up in Kansas at the same time, although she was a bit younger. So, it's interesting to read about young African American children in Kansas and to compare it with my mother's stories of growing up.
Langston Hughes was best known as a top notch poet. But this book shows that he's also a rather good novelist. The writing is wonderful.