Tucker Caliban The protagonist; although he says little, it is through his various relationships with the other characters that we get to know him and understand the revolution that he precipitates.
Mister Harper The wise and knowing old man who represents the Old South.
Harry Leland The white liberal who does not feel the necessity to change his life style, but he does want his son to recognize that change is inevitable for the future of the South.
Mister Leland The eight-year-old son of Harry Leland. He provides the reader with important insights into the character of Tucker Caliban.
General Dewey Willson General Willson never appears in the novel, but his influence is felt. It was this man who named Caliban and who established the bond between the Willsons and the Calibans.
The African Like General Willson, the African never appears in the novel, but because of his relationship to Tucker Caliban, he affects all of the other characters.
Auctioneer's Negro A black man who is torn by the desire to be an American and yet remain true to his African heritage.
Dymphna Willson The daughter of David and Camille Willson.
Dewitt Willson He purchased the African, the grandfather clock, and the African's young son.
Bethrah Caliban Tucker's wife; she attended college and hopes for better things than the South can offer herself and her family.
Dewey Willson III The youngest descendant of General Willson.
David Willson The present custodian of the Willson lands. As a student at Harvard, he had ideas about changing the South, but he gave them up eventually and found himself playing out the predetermined role of the southern landed gentry.
Reverend Bennett T. Bradshaw Like David Willson, Bradshaw was educated at Harvard and had plans for changing the conditions of his people, but the blacks passed him by. Bradshaw cannot understand how such an uneducated man as Tucker can accomplish the very thing that Bradshaw attempted to do all his life.
Camille Willson David's wife. When her marriage began to crumble, she listened to Tucker's advice; Tucker was nine years old at the time.
Stewart He sits on the porch each day; it is Stewart who brings the news about Tucker's salting his land.
Loomis He doubts that the African has anything to do with the events of the past few days. Like the other men who sit on the porch, he respects Mister Harper, but because Loomis spent three weeks at college, he can't accept the theory about the African's influence on Tucker.
Bobby-Joe McCollum The youngest member of the group of men who sit on the porch. It is his interpretation of the black exodus that leads to Bradshaw's death.
Wallace Bedlow A black resident of the town; he watched Tucker salt his land, and it is he who is the first person to leave Sutton after the Calibans depart.
Walter Leland The younger brother of Mister Leland.
Marge Leland Harry Leland's wife.
John Caliban Tucker's grandfather; he worked for the Willsons all of his life. He dies on a bus while returning to the Willson farm.
Missus Caliban The faithful house-servant of the Willsons; Tucker's mother.
Miss Rickett A woman with a reputation for lusty sexual desires.
Thomason The proprietor of the grocery store where some of the men of the town congregate every day.
Mister Harper's Daughter A spinster of fifty-five; it is her duty to push her father in his wheelchair.