Author and Scottsboro Trial PowerPoint

To Kill A Mockingbird
•Harper Lee
•The Scottsboro Trials
Background on Harper Lee
• Largely autobiographical and like her
character, Boo Radley, Lee has had one
moment of notoriety, followed by years of
privacy and silence.
• born is Monroeville, Alabama, April 28,
• Third youngest of Amasa Coleman Lee and
Frances Finch (surname of mom is the
family name of the main characters).
Family life:
• Atticus Finch (main character) modeled after
father, Amasa (lawyer).
• Maycomb, the setting in To Kill A
Mockingbird is modeled after her hometown,
Monroeville, Alabama.
• Grew up during the Great Depression of the
1930s - much like Scout (narrator).
• “Nobody had any money. We didn’t have
toys…so the result was that we lived in our
imagination most of the time.”
• Childhood playmate - Truman Capote (Dill
is modeled after him).
• Although she loved writing, she had a
passion for law.
• Graduated public school, attended
Huntington College and the University of
Alabama. Went to Oxford University exchange student.
• Lee never earned law degree, but she feels
that studying law gave her a logic and a
lucidity helpful in her writing.
• Settled in New York City - worked as an
airline reservation clerk.
How did the story originate?
• Showed “some tales of her childhood” to a
literary agent, who urged her to put together a
• Events such as the Scottsboro Trials
• Thus - To Kill A Mockingbird: Published in
Awards and Achievements
• Best seller
• Pulitzer Prize for fiction
• Selected by both the
Literary Guild and the
Book-of-the-Month Club
• Alabama Library
Association Award
• National Conference of
Christians and Jews
Brotherhood Award
• Has a place amongst the
great works in
contemporary American
• Made into an Academy
Award winning movie in
• Ranks #34 on AFI all time
movie list.
What has she done since?
• Never published a novel again.
• Kept writing essays for magazines like
McCall’s and Vogue.
• Self described as a slow writer.
• It may be a summation of Lee’s life that she
has found nothing else to write about.
The Scottsboro Trials
• March 25, 1931: Police stop Southern Railroad
train in Paint Rock, Alabama.
• Scottsboro boys are arrested on charges of assault.
Rape charges are added against all nine boys after
accusations are made by Victoria Price and Ruby
• The two women are underage; older one is a
• Both smuggling and trying to avoid problems.
The Scottsboro Trials
• Oldest was 19; youngest was 12.
• Within one month of the first trial, the first AfricanAmerican is sentenced to death. Others condemned.
• Jury ignored evidence; wanted execution versus life
• None of the accused were executed.
• Central figure was second trial Judge Horton who
postponed trials and set aside a conviction contrary to
public outcry.
• Not until 1977 was the case finally settled.
The Scottsboro Boys
Charles Weems
Clarence Norris
Andy Wright
Ozie Powell
Olen Montgomery
Eugene Williams
Willie Roberson
Roy Wright
Haywood Patterson
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