To Kill A Mockingbird and the Little Rock Nine

Powerful Essays
When a group of children known as the Little Rock Nine stepped onto the campus of Central High School of Arkansas on September 4th, 1957, they changed history forever. By being the first black students to attend a traditionally white high school, the nine students helped move America toward a more fair and constitutional attitude toward colored people. To Kill a Mockingbird was written during this time period and deals with many of the same cultural issues even though it’s story takes place a few decades earlier. If this were not the case and the novel’s characters had grown up during the same time as the Little Rock Nine, there is no doubt that Scout, Atticus, Bob Ewell, and many other characters would have had strong opinions about and may have even taken action for or against the Little Rock Nine or the Civil Rights movement as a whole.
The Little Rock Nine were part of a broad movement for civil rights that started in 1865 with the 13th amendment and still continues today. Many prominent figures emerged at the forefront of the cause such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, but the Little Rock Nine advanced civil rights in education by beginning the effort to desegregate schools. Their legacy still lives on as one of bravery and perseverance.
Their story started in 1954 when Brown v Board of Education ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional. It was the first legal decision that opposed the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine that had become standard since the Plessy v Ferguson case in 1896 which propagated segregation: “'separate' facilities provided for blacks and whites were legally acceptable provided that they were of an 'equal' standard” (Kirk, “Crisis at Central High”). Little Rock, Arkansas, was on...

... middle of paper ... The other is Boo Radley, who is a “mockingbird” because he is not the monster the children first believe him to be, but rather he leaves gifts and helps the children whenever he can. Scout learns that killing a mockingbird is a sin at the end of the novel when she accepts that she must lie about Radley’s involvement in a murder because “it’d be sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird”(Lee 370).

Works Cited

Duffy, Joan I. "Little Rock's Central High: Looking Back." Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN). Sept. 21 1997: A1+. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
Kirk, John A. "Crisis at Central High." History Today (London, England) Vol. 57, No. 9. Sept. 2007: 23-30. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
Kowalski, Kathiann M. "Little Rock NINE." Cobblestone 35.2 (2014): 18-19. Print.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1960. Print.
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