Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is the high-water mark in teaching about racial tolerance. It was featured as part of Chicago's One Book program. Here in Minnesota, it was assigned reading as part of a plea bargain for individuals guilty of an attack following a KKK rally.
The novel was reportedly inspired by the real-life events in Scottsboro, Alabama. The trial of the Scottsboro "boys" is featured in a PBS documentary and in the upcoming movie, Heavens Fall. To review, here are some elements of the Scottsboro and/or To Kill a Mockingbird stories:
- Forensic evidence from the woman that points toward innocence
- Bruises of questionable origin that bolster the defense position
- Outrage in the local community, demanding prosecution
- Horror in the rest of the country at the apparent miscarriage of justice
- Racial dragnet -- using race to accuse many for what was, at most, the acts of a few