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Social Context of To Kill a Mockingbird

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Jill Sutton

on 3 February 2011

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Transcript of Social Context of To Kill a Mockingbird

I. Racism in the South in the 1930's 1. Harper's Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird highlights instances of heroism and courage in a small Alabama town riddled with the poverty and racial tensions of the South in 1935. 2. Not only is the book set during the Great Depression, it is also set during a time where racism sparked the mistreatment of African Americans who were considered "second class citizens." II. Relation to To Kill a Mockingbird Why are you learning about the racism that affected the South during the Great Depression? There are certain aspects of the book that Harper Lee based on situations that happened in real-life. The South was so engulfed with racism and prejudice that there were many African Americans put to death for no good reason. Lee represents the segregation of blacks and whites through her characters and their actions toward one another. 4. To Kill a Mockingbird is such an influential book because
it represents the South as it was in the '30s. This book is seen through the eyes of a young girl which makes the tone of the book lighthearted even though it is dealing with such a tough issue. 5. Harper Lee does a good job of representing how the crash affected everyone; including businessmen, farmers, and African Americans. III. Historical Relevance 6. There is a part of the book where an African American man is falsely put on trial for raping a white woman. 7. This scene is based on a true story. 8. In 1931, nine African American males were accused of raping two white women on a train near Scottsboro, Alabama. 9. This case is referred to as "The Scottsboro Boys." IV. The Scottsboro Boys 10. As seen from the video, these nine boys were accused of rape without any real proof. 11. The only proof the court had was the word of Victoria Price and Ruby Bates. These were the women that accused the boys. How would you feel? Imagine that you are driving down the street when suddenly a group of strangers pull you out of the car and threaten to hang you.

Imagine you are put on trial for a crime you didn't commit and the sentence is death.

Imagine that you are tried over and over again, and each time yougo back to death row.
That's what happened to the Scottsboro boys. Your turn! On your own sheet of paper, write three COMPLETE sentences on how you would feel if you were convicted and sentenced to the death penalty for a crime you did not commit. 12. Despite the lack of proof, the all white jury decided each boy was guilty making this case a famous example of injustice towards African Americans in the South. V. The Jim Crow Laws 13. The Scottsboro Boys trial is just one of many racial prejudices directed towards African Americans during the Jim Crow South. 14. The Jim Crow South is a term to represent the racial caste system given to African Americans between 1875 and 1965. 15. The Jim Crow Laws were state and local laws that included the "separate but equal" mandate. 16. Some examples of Jim Crow laws are the segregation of public schools, public places, and public transportation. 17. To Kill a Mockingbird includes the hardships of the crash on the people as well as the prejudices African Americans faced during this time.
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