Monday, April 24, 2006

Scottsboro, Maycomb, and Durham

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
Every decent person would like to think that he or she would be on the right side of the issue if such a case ever happened today. People identify with Atticus Finch, rather than the prosecutor in the fictional story. Fortunately, we'll never find out because nothing like the Scottsboro trial could ever happen today, right?


Blogger Mahan said...

Very clever, sir. I salute you.

January 30, 2007 10:28 PM  

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