Can anyone explain to me the parallels between 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and the American Civil Rights Movement???
There is the definite parallel between the Scottsboro Boys and Tom Robinson in the book. Do a google search on "Scottsboro Boys", and you'll find the trial took place in Northern Alabama over an accusation that a group of black men raped some young white girls, when it turns out evidence more or less proved the girls wanted to be there and chose to be there.
However, to piggy back a bit on what's been said earlier, Rome isn't built in a day. The Civil Rights movement was great in that it made acceptance and tolerance a legal responsibility for many public entities, however, it really comes down to each person making an individual choice to accept people based on their merits, as opposed to their skin color or ethnic background. There will always be some level of prejudice; it's just human nature. Even Dr. Seuss shows this with the critters who have stars on their bellies, and those who do not. Then again, we always have those in each generation who are willing to stand up against age-old traditions of prejudice, and inspire those around them to see truth for what it is... be it an Atticus Finch, an MLK, or a Ghandi.
Harper Lee, a lawyer's daughter, also studied law but never practised law herself. Instead, she invested all her knowledge and energy into writing 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' her only notable work.
But what a work it is! In a review of books entitled 'Books to Absolutely Read before You Die,' 'To Kill a Mockingbird' rated.... number one!
The Civil Rights Movement in the United States did not happen until the 1960's, a couple of decades after the publication of 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' 'To Kill a Mockingbird' candidly addressed the problems of racism and injustice and paved the way for the social protest which followed.
As Rome was not built in a day, social reform does not happen overnight, but at least, as Miss Maudie would say, it is a small step in the right direction....
Some parallels -
Racial prejudice is finally recognized as a social blight. (As the rabid dog threatening the town of Maycomb with contamination which Atticus shot - To Kill a Mockingbird ).
One person cannot change the mind-frame of a whole society. (Neither Harper Lee's Atticus Finch nor Martin Luther King).
Social reform requires solidarity and takes time.
Both have a lot to do with racial equity. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus is trying desperately to get the town to understand that a human is a human, no matter what their color, and in the same way, many of the participants in the civil rights movement had the same objective.
Just as Atticus portrays Tom Robinson as a fellow human being, African-Americans of the 60s and after tried to convince society that they were not sub-standard creatures, but rather, participants in the human race. And, just as Atticus's defense of Tom flew in the face of society's standards of the time, many aspects of the civil rights movement also violated customary expectations of culture during that era.