What effect does The Scottsboro Boys Trial (this occured during harpers childhood)  have on Harper Lee and Americas judicial system?This website...

What effect does The Scottsboro Boys Trial (this occured during harpers childhood)  have on Harper Lee and Americas judicial system?

This website is good for reference:


click on The Scottsboro Boys Trial

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although this occured during Harper's childhood, I have heard her in interviews say that she wasn't trying to copy the Scottsboro trials situation intentionally. It is we teachers who draw the great connection.  Her real father was a lawyer and race relations and cases were tense. The time period in which she grew up and the location of her childhood significantly contributed to the discussion of civil rights in this country because of the Jim Crow laws. These laws that caused segregation meant that although slavery had been abolished, a whole new era of racial tension broke out in America.

Lee's parents must have been considerably adept at communicating about race for her to have produced a work like this. Because Lee led a reclusive life and wrote very little after her hard work on To Kill a Mockingbird, I believe she was not ready for the stardom and the impact that came with her coming of age novel that also captured an era better than she ever imagined. Her editors regularly gave her the work back for editing citing that it was too episodic. Fortunately for America, it made it to press and has stood to serve in the high school setting as a tale of good and evil, and justice and inequity.

In terms of the Scottsboro Trials and America's judicial system, I believe Lee's work was the straw that helped break the camel's back so-to-speak for the Civil Rights Movement to keep gaining its momentum in the 60s. It became a motion picture quickly after publication and one-by-one impacted public opinion... this included lawyers and judges. Today, it serves the purpose of reminding lawyers of their responsibility to stack up to Atticus' character and be fair.  I think it also reminds the common man to do the right thing when on a jury instead of going with the flow.

Hope these ideas help.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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