Why is prejudice an integral part of Maycomb ?
The story is set in the fictional small town of Maycomb, Alabama during the mid-1930s, which was a time when Jim Crow laws were enforced throughout the South. Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation, which marginalized and discriminated against African American citizens. African American citizens were forbidden from using or occupying white-only public facilities throughout the South, and they were considered second-class citizens. These organized discriminatory state laws and institutions perpetuated and encouraged racial discrimination, which is an integral part of Maycomb's culture throughout the novel.
The conflict throughout the story centers around the trial of an innocent African American man who is accused of assaulting and raping a white woman. Despite Atticus's valiant defense, Tom Robinson becomes the unfortunate victim of racial injustice. Harper Lee chose to set the story in a Southern town that enforced Jim Crow laws in order to emphasize the significance of race that would develop the conflict throughout the story. Both Jem and Scout lose their childhood innocence after they witness racial injustice firsthand and begin to acknowledge the fact that the majority of Maycomb's citizens are racist.