Nelle Harper Lee demonstrates an excellent representation of a harsh time period in her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, which took place in the South between 1925 and 1935. This period was very important in the construction of the South’s economy, although it proved to be exceptionally challenging for African Americans. They had special laws to abide by, were not given the rights that white people held, and were badly mistreated because of the whites’ resentment that black slaves were now free. One primary example of this mistreatment is the case known as the Scottsboro Trials, in which injustice was served on eight black men for a crime that never happened. The following will include factual and fictitious literature and will utilize them with historical evidence to prove that a black person’s fair trial was improbable in the court system of the young south.
In March of 1931 nine young Negro boys were unjustly charged with raping a white woman. In the bestselling novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, published in 1960, a young black male faces a similar circumstance when he finds himself the defendant charged with a similar crime. Both cases were so harshly charged with racism neither the Scottsboro Boys nor Tom Robinson was safe from an unjustly fate.
In the novel by Harper Lee named, To Kill a Mockingbird, there is one main tragic event that occurs. The feelings and expressions dealt with in the novel are seen through the eyes of the main character, named Scout. In the novel Tom Robinson is a black male accused of rape in Maycomb County. During the same time period as the novel there were many historical events that were almost identical in setting and conclusion. There were many things that happened leading up to the court case that foreshadowed Tom Robinson’s inability to be found innocent of the charges. The Scottsboro case and the case in the novel are similar in many ways, especially in that they ruined the lives of blacks over false accusations.
In the early twentieth century, the United States was undergoing a dramatic social change. Slavery had been abolished decades before, but the southern states were still attempting to restrict social interaction among people of different races. In particular, blacks were subject to special Jim Crow laws which restricted their rights and attempted to keep the race inferior to whites. Even beyond these laws, however, blacks were feeling the pressure of prejudice. In the legal system, blacks were not judged by a group of their peers; rather, they were judged by a group of twelve white men. In serious court cases involving capital offenses, the outcome always proved to be a guilty verdict. In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the plot revolves around a Depression-era court case of a black man accused of raping a white woman. The defendant Tom Robinson is presumed guilty because of one thing alone: the color of his skin.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, illustrates the early twentieth century’s historical realities through the case between Tom Robinson and Bob Ewell. This certain case comes off as a no brainer for most of the townspeople, discerning a black man’s testimony against a white man’s. This is because of the majority of the town still in withholding of Jim Crow ideals. Nonetheless, hope was still had by Atticus Finch, who was the defenders attorney, and his family for victory seeming the plaintiff is a half crazy middle aged man, whom most of the town would rather not associate with. As Mr. Ewell had his testimony, on the other side of the hall Tom Robinson had his counterclaim ready to go against the odds. Jim Crow laws and the depression only
The Scottsboro trials were the beginning of an extreme change in the way America treats colored people. There were so many firsts that happened during the Scottsboro trials and one of them was when the sheriff stopped the boys from being lynched because he thought they deserved a real and honest trial. The fact that these boys got a trial must have surprised everyone that was nearby Scottsboro because they say that court was the fullest it had ever been. After that, another first happens when the black and whites march side by side and white people were showing their support for those nine boys accused of rape. The way these trials affected America in later date is phenomenal because this was the first time that whites had a parade in favour of the black kids on trial who were being unfairly judged. The documentary stated “Scottsboro is the rekindling of an equality fight,” This meant that Scottsboro reminded Americans why they should unite together instead of segregating colored people simply because we still thought they were less than whites. This trial led to the chant “Blacks and whites unite and fight” which people would say during the first black and white parade, rioting about the mistreatment those boys were
It is no surprise that most of America’s black, Hispanic and other minority populations do not trust the criminal justice system. There is little debate on the fact that the system is racially biased. The facts are undeniable. From youth to adulthood, in most cities across the U.S., inequality between races is still present in many aspects of life, even in the Justice System. Unfortunately, justice for some is seen in black and white.
Many view America as a land of opportunity, one that preaches freedom and has specific laws to ensure the equality of this pursuit of freedom. Despite the intention of promoting freedom and equality, many American laws transcend these values and mirror the true sentiments of our nation’s constituents. These laws cannot serve to uphold equality if that intention does not come to fruition in their practice and application to societal issues. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson, a black man in a mostly white community, faces accusations and a subsequent trial for the rape of Mayella Ewell, a white girl of the town. As the Southern setting of the novel implies, the racial aspect of this trial consumes the town of Maycomb, Alabama leading to escalating tensions and violence among those with opposing views. The racial components of this case evident outside and inside of the courtroom such as a communal bias, stereotypical arrest, layers language and predisposition of the jury force the reader to ponder the integrity of the Maycomb justice system and the ethnic stigmas that accompany it. However, these biases and racist hindrances of true justice are not unique to the 1930’s South. Tom Robinson’s treatment by the Maycomb justice system reflects a double standard and racial inequality prevalent in the entire American Justice system.
... the defendants had to deal with a higher human authority, the judge and jury of their area. In To Kill A Mockingbird Tom Robinson had to deal with an alleged rape, and no matter what the evidence said, or how hard his lawyer worked, he was convicted and later died. Tom was falsely accused, and his death was untimely and could have been avoided. But he accepted his fate calmly, as if he knew no matter what he would be convicted. The defendant in A Time To Kill, Carl Lee was accused of murder of the two men who raped his daughter. Carl was found not guilty, even though he did kill those men, and later on in life will have to deal with his actions. Both men had to deal with what the court brought against them, and they both did. Carl and Tom dealt with multiple issues, but the prejudices of their race, and the time they were tried ultimately determined their fates.
...es throughout the Scottsboro trials. It was a strong motivator for the prosecution team and the judge to persuade the jury to keep the nine boys behind bars and on to their death. The innocent Scottsboro Boys were put through years of jail time and relentless trials for a crime they did not commit. This disturbing false accusations caused riots and threatening mobs throughout Alabama and parts of the United States, and helped change the severity of racism everywhere. The story of the Scottsboro Incident raised awareness across the United States that racial prejudice does not belong in our justice system. Two major Supreme Court rulings were made because of this case - that poor people should have a right to fair legal representation, and juries should be made up of all types of people regardless of their race. Racism is a crime in itself and is unjust in every way.