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To Kill a Mocking Bird: Racism

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by

Edward Thompson

on 6 January 2013

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Transcript of To Kill a Mocking Bird: Racism

To Kill a Mocking Bird Exploring Racism Racism in "To Kill a Mocking Bird" Racism in reality Historical aspects Major Characters affected by racism Scout Finch's Childhood Tom Robinson's Trial Author's life and history The author of To Kill a Mocking Bird is Harper Lee. She was born and raised in Alabama where the book takes place. "To Kill a Mocking Bird" is the only book that Harper Lee wrote, however for the book, she won a Pulitzer prize. The trials that “To Kill a Mockingbird” are based on are called the Scottsboro trials
These trials are the most notorious series of trials ever recorded in history
The Scottsboro trial was about a couple of black men who had been accused by a white woman of rape and were sentenced to jail time
Over the next decade or so, trials, and retrials were made to try and either prove their innocence or guiltiness. Scout Finch: first encounter with evil in the world is racism
Jem Finch: is forced to determine his ideals after the prejudiced trial being a white person
Atticus Finch: tries to defend people against it
Tom Robinson: is a victim of racism
Bob Ewell: is a catalyst of racism Grew up in 1930s - rural southern Alabama town
Father - Atticus Finch - attorney who served in state legislature in Alabama
Older brother and young neighbor (Dill) are playmates
Scout reads before she enters school; reads Mobile Register newspaper in first grade
Six years old when the trial of Tom Robinson takes place Occurs in the 1930s
Takes place in southern Alabama
Begins with a charge of rape made by a white woman against an African American man
The poor white status of Mayella is a critical issue
A central figure is Atticus, lawyer, legislator and member of the Alabama Bar, who defends an African American man
Atticus arouses anger in the communtiy in trying to defend Tom Robinson
The verdict is rendered by a jury of poor white residents of Old Sarum
The jury ignores evidence, for example, that Tom has a useless left arm
Attitudes about Southern women and poor whites complicate the trial of Tom Robinson. Facts about Scottboro trial Maycomb Cultures Grew up in 1930s - rural southern Alabama town
Father - Amasa Lee - attorney who served in state legislature in Alabama
Young neighbor, Truman Capote, (who later became famous author of "In Cold Blood") and Harper Lee were playmates
She was an avid reader
Six years old when Scottsboro trials were meticulously covered in state and local newspapers Harper Lee's Childhood Maycomb Geography Because of the racial segregation the town has a set type of geography for the citizens.
On the outskirts of the town live the african-americans with a church and cememtary just for them while the whites live closer to the center of the town.
Even in places like the court, there is always a seperation between the whites and the Negros.
The whites get the good seats near the action, while the blacks are forced to stand in the balcony Took place in the 1930s
Took place in northern Alabama
Began with a charge of rape made by white women against African American men
The poor white status of the accusers was a critical issue
A central figure was a heroic judge, a member of the Alabama Bar who overturned a guilty jury verdict against African American men
This judge went against public sentiment in trying to protect the rights of the African American defendants
The first juries failed to include any African Americans, a situation which caused the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the guilty verdict
The jury ignored evidence, for example, that the women suffered no injuries
Attitudes about Southern women and poor whites complicated the trial. Maycomb is a very segregated town. Because of this cultures and social statuses are far apart between the black and whites in the town. This kind of segregation causes multiples of everything, because black and whites must go to different churches, living quarters, etc. Explanation The relationship between Harper Lee's past and the life of Scout Finch is that Harper Lee modeled Scouts life based on her own. Scout was born during the 1930 just as Harper Lee was, and any detail that was important in "To Kill a Mocking Bird" was because it was present in Harper Lee's life. Another minor detail in Lee's life about racism also helped to create the Robinson trial. Similarities between Scottoboro trials, and Tom Robinson trial Some similarities between both trials are that the events that happened in both are almost exactly alike. The big difference between the two trials are the location the trial occurred in and the characters that tried to defend the accused. However the similarity is so uncanny that one can assume that the Scottoboro trials are what Harper Lee based the Tom Robinson trial on. The trial in the book shows just how prejudiced everyone is, but after you realized that it was based on something that happened in real life, the racism that was being shown to blacks in that time period seems even more horrific to us now. Once Lee's father, a lawyer, had a case that involved two black men who has supposedly murdered a white shopkeeper. In the end the two were hung. An important thing in the book is that Harper Lee's father tried to defend both the black father and son, and the black men from the Scottoboro Trials. This is probable where Harper Lee got the inspiration for the Tom Robinson case. Racism in the 1900's Being African-American in Alabama in the 1930s was not easy. So in 1930 African-Americans had only been free citizens for sixty-five years. Racial discrimination and prejudice were still common in Alabama. Right up until the 1960s there was a policy of segregation, which meant separate facilities, such as schools, toilets and restaurants, for Whites and African-Americans. Alabama, and many other American states, had specific 'Jim Crow' laws to enforce segregation. There was also a widespread belief amongst Whites that African-American men were sexual predators and were a threat to White women. Many White men did live with Black women but it was thought to be scandalous for a Black man to live with a White woman. A large majority of White people believed that African-Americans were second-class citizens and treated them that way. Racism is a big issue around the world, towards every race. In the novel, racism towards black people in May comb was brought up. In real life, these issues really did exist of still do. Harper Lee’s family also had a black housekeeper like Calpurnia in the novel. During this period of time, black people were still seen as slaves for the white people. In the south, because they lost in the civil war, black people were treated worse than the black people living in the north. Black people were kept under white social and economic control. Maycomb Geography Because of the racial segregation the town has a set type of geography for the citizens.
On the outskirts of the town live the african-americans with a church and cememtary just for them while the whites live closer to the center of the town.
Even in places like the court, there is always a seperation between the whites and the Negros.
The whites get the good seats near the action, while the blacks are forced to stand in the balcony Similarities between Scottoboro trials, and Tom Robinson trial Some similarities between both trials are that the events that happened in both are almost exactly alike. The big difference between the two trials are the location the trial occurred in and the characters that tried to defend the accused. However the similarity is so uncanny that one can assume that the Scottoboro trials are what Harper Lee based the Tom Robinson trial on. The trial in the book shows just how prejudiced everyone is, but after you realized that it was based on something that happened in real life, the racism that was being shown to blacks in that time period seems even more horrific to us now. Context of "To Kill a Mocking Bird" This book takes place in a small town called Maycomb in Alabama
The town, although slightly important, is still very poor, primitive, and dirty, compared other towns and very segregated
The main characters are two children named Scout, and Jem
At first the book shows the different classes in the town
As the book progresses it leaves the subject of Jem and Scout's life and starts to talk more about the amount of prejudice in the town.
The climax of the book is during the court case between a black and white man. Because the case goes to the white man, even though he was wrong, the amount of racism is clearly shown. AND NOW ITS TIME FOR JEOPARDY!
Use what you learned in this to help you!
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