Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird - Analyzing Race Relations with the Selma Bridge Crossing
Students are preparing to read Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. In order to gain a sense of the history that encompasses Harper Lee’s novel, students will be looking at the historical events that were occurring during the time of this novel’s publication. This lesson calls students to use Bernice Sims’ painting as an analytical tool to help them understand the history surrounding Harper Lee’s novel. Thus, students will be examining the civil rights movement of the 1960s. For this lesson, students will be analyzing Bernice Sims’ painting, “Selma Bridge Crossing,” which depicts the moment when civil rights marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in March of 1965. Students will analyze the event from the various perspectives of those individuals portrayed in the painting. This activity will allow students to gain a more complete understanding of the racial conflict that penetrated the American South during this time period.