Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

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Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

The United States has been dealing with the issue of racism ever since Columbus landed on Plymouth Rock. The Indians were the first to endure harsh racism in this country. Pilgrims moving west ran them off their land wiping out many tribes and destroying many resources in their path. However, when many think of racism today, the issue of blacks and whites is the first to come to mind. African Americans have come a long way in today’s society as compared to the society their ancestors had to overcome. But just as far as we have come, there is still a long way we must go. Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, clearly depicts racism and what it was like in the nineteen-thirties through the trial of Tom Robinson and the only white man that supports him, Atticus Finch. The whole town of Mycomb becomes overwhelmed by a crime that a poor, “white trash” young woman named Mayella Ewell, accuses Tom Robinson, a black field laborer, of committing. This is very similar to the case of the Scottsboro Boys where nine black men were also wrongfully accused of a crime only because of the color of their skin. The fictional story, To Kill A Mockingbird, seems to depict actual events that happened throughout the nineteen-thirties in the south, during a time when whites dominated the legal system and blacks had no rights.

The nineteen-thirties was a time of great hardship for many Americans in the south and around the country. The great depression was in full effect and was especially hard on those Americans who were involved in agriculture. The south played host to a higher degree of segregation than any other region of the country at this time. Many states and cities reinforced segregat...

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...as usually taken care of outside of the courtroom, left dangling from a tree or beaten to death by angry mobs. “White Justice,” was the only thing that mattered to the white southerners during the nineteen-thirties. And that was the only thing that the blacks would get.

Works Cited

Braziel, Jana. History of Lynching in the United States. Chicago: University of Illinois

Press, 1992.

Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books, 1982.

Linder, Douglas. The Trials of “The Scottsboro Boys.”


Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site Interpretive Staff. “Jim Crow” Laws.”

January 5, 1998. http://www.nps.gov/malu/documents/jim_crow_laws.htm.

Stewart E. Tolnay and E.M. Beck, A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern

Lynchings, 1882-1930.

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