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To Kill a Mockingbird

The influence the Scottsboro Trials had on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Traci Evans

on 18 May 2010

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Transcript of To Kill a Mockingbird

What is the inspiration behind it all? Author, Harper Lee, was born April 28, 1926. At age six she experienced a event that would change her life. But what exactly was this event? SCOTTSBORO TRIALS 1931-1989 On March 25 1931 nine African American men were accused of assaulting and raping two white females on a freight train. The two young girls were Ruby Bates and Victoria Price. A ragged pair, but a pair nonetheless. Upon these accusations the nine boys, Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Haywood Patterson, Ozie Powell, Willie Roberson, Charlie Weems, Eugene Williams, and brothers Andy and Roy Wright were gathered and taken to Scottsboro Jail in Alabama. Ruby Bates and Victoria Price worked in the Huntsville mills. Though the girls worked at every opportune moment, wages were still low and for this reason they lived in poverty.

so lets take a look at the scottsboro trials... April 6-9 eight of the nine scottsboro boys are sentenced to death. The youngest boy's trial resulted in a hung jury. June 22- Thanks to the NAACP and the ILD the sentences of the eight men await to be appealed. January 5- a letter to Ruby Bates boyfriend surfaces stating that the two girls were never raped. November 7- The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the case. May 27 1937- Supreme Court rules that boys were denied their rights granted by the fourteenth ammendment and the case is remanded to a lower court. 1937- all scottsboro boys are found guilty and sentenced. The Scottsboro trials continued throughout most of Harper Lee's life, which is depicted throughout her book. Tom Robinson is acccused of assaulting and raping a low class nineteen year old white female. Evidence that Tom Robinson could not have assaulted Mayella Ewell surfaces because he has a injured arm. Three of the Scottsboro boys were handicapped which disabled them from being able to rape Victoria and Ruby. Tom Robinson is found guilty Harper Lee bases the book To Kill a Mockingbird off of the real life events of the Scottsboro trials by creating characters to represent actual people that played a role in the trials. WORKS CITED
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird.
Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1960.
"American Experience | Scottsboro:
An American Tragedy." PBS. Web.
18 May 2010.
"American Experience | Scottsboro:
An American Tragedy | Timeline."
PBS. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/scottsboro/timeline/index.html>.

SCOUT FINCH Harper Lee portrays herself in the book as Scout Finch. Scout, being the same age as Lee, and living in the the 1930's notices the unjust laws that deny African Americans of their rights. Atticus Finch is created in the image of Harper Lee's father who was a lawyer during the time of the Scottsboro trials. The characteristics Mr. Finch envelops are a combination of Lee's father and Leibowitz. Atticus Finch was considered one of the best lawyers of the south, much like Samuel Leibowitz was the best lawyer in the north. The book To Kill a Mockingbird, and the real life events of the Scottsboro trials have many similarities. Harper Lee created the story of Scout Finch to portray her childhood living throught the Great Depression and the impact the Scottsboro trials had on everyday life.
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