Essay on Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Case

Essay on Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Case

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Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Case


On March 25 1931 a group of nine boys were charged with raping two girls aboard a train traveling from Paint Rock Alabama across the state’s border. The trial of these boys had become collectively known as the Scottsboro case. Several years later Harper Lee wrote her famous novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In this story a young male Tom Robinson is charged with raping a white female. It is by understanding the parallel between Tom Robinson’s case in To Kill a Mockingbird and the Scottsboro case that can be understood that a fair trial was unlikely and that because of Tom Robinson’s race he was presumed guilty before his trial.

Investigating the similarities between the Scottsboro case and Tom Robinson’s trail, the first major parallel the shadow of lynching that menaces the accused in both. The threat of lynching occurs in the novel when after Tom Robinson is transported to the Maycomb city jail. That night a mob of people from nearby community called Old Sarum gather around the jail in an attempt to abduct him. This type of behavior is by all means very plausible for this time period. In a nearly identical event, as to that in the novel, on a cold night in 1931 after the Scottsboro boys were sentenced a scene right out of To Kill a Mockingbird seemed to come to life. That night Dan T. Carter, the court historian, accounts, “ farmers from the nearby hills began gathering, and by dusk a crowd of several hundred stood in front of the two-story jail.” (Carter 7) Just like the Old Sarum mob most of these people were poor white farmers seeking the blood of a black man. The connection of the southern society’s feeling toward a black man committing a crime against a while f...


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... connections with the Scottsboro case. In conclusion both the Scottsboro case and Tom Robinson’s case, whether it be fact or fiction, a human by flesh but not by la, was damned for a conviction that he could not control, he was black.

Works Cited

Carter, Dan T. Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South. New York: W.W. Norton,
1935.

Durr, Virgina Foster. Outside the Magic Circle: The Autobiography of Virgina Price. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1963.

Flynt, Wanye. Poor But Proud: Alabama’s Poor Whites. Tuscaloosa: University of
Alabama Press, 1933.

Hamilton, Virgina. Alabama: A Bicentennial History. New York: W.W. Norton, 1977.

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

Tindall, George Brown. The Emergence of the New South 1913-1937. Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1970.

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