Presentation on theme: "“To Kill a Mockingbird” was written in 1960, though the events of the story (which cover a three year period) start in 1932. It was written at a time of."— Presentation transcript:
“To Kill a Mockingbird” was written in 1960, though the events of the story (which cover a three year period) start in 1932. It was written at a time of great racial tension, and was in part inspired by real life events.
(1) In March of 1931 in Alabama, a group of white teenagers got into a fight with a group of black teens. The black teens managed to force all but one of members of the white group off the train. (2) Some of the whites went straight to the stationmaster to report what they described as an assault by the black group.
(3) The stationmaster wired ahead. A posse at the next station stopped the train and rounded up every black youth they could find. Nine captured young men were taken to a jail in Scottsboro, Alabama. (4) Also greeted by the posse were two young women, who told the posse that they had been raped by a gang of twelve blacks with pistols and knives.
(5) The black boys were aged 12 through 21. All were charged with rape. They were given two incompetent lawyers— one an unprepared real estate attorney and the other a 70 year old attorney who hadn’t tried a case in decades. (6) At the first trial of “The Scottsboro Boys,” eight of the nine boys were convicted and sentenced to death by an all white jury, despite a lack of evidence to convict them.
(7) In 1933, in a second trial of one of the accused black boys, one of the “rape victims” testified that she had lied, and no rape had occurred. She and the other girl, she said, were afraid of being convicted of another crime, and so claimed they had been raped to draw attention away from themselves. (8) Despite this testimony, the young man was found guilty and sentenced to death by electric chair.
(9) The cases against the boys dragged on for six years, and went to the Supreme Court twice. It would be 19 years before the last of the Scottsboro Boys was released from prison. (10) It wasn’t until 1976 that the Governor of Alabama pardoned the Boys, and admitted that the trial had been biased and was an example of injustice towards blacks.
(11) In the summer of 1955, while visiting his uncle, 14 year old Emmett Till joins a group of teens to go to the grocery store for refreshments after a long day of picking cotton in the hot sun. Emmett goes in to buy bubble gum. (12) Some of the kids outside the store later claim they heard Emmett whistle at the white daughter of the store owners.
(13) Four days later at about 2:30am, the girls father and uncle kidnapped Emmett Till. They brutally beat him, took him to the edge of the Tallahatchie River, shot him in the head, then fastened a large metal fan used for processing cotton to his neck with barbed wire, and pushed his body in the river.
(14) The two men are charged with kidnapping and murder. They both plead innocent. The trial begins, with all white jurors. (All blacks and white women are banned from serving as jurors.) (15) The two men were acquitted of murdering Emmett till after the jury deliberated only 67 minutes. One juror tells a reporter that they wouldn’t have taken so long if they hadn’t stopped to drink pop.
(16) Five years later, one of the men tells a reporter, for $4,000, how they killed Emmett Till.
(17) In 1959, three days before his trial, Mack Charles Parker, a 23 year old black truck driver, is lynched by a mob of white men in Mississippi. (18) He had been accused of raping a white woman and was being held in a local jail. The mob took him from his cell, beat him, took him to a bridge, shot and killed him, then weighed him down with chains and dumped him in the river.
(19) The FBI investigated and identified at least ten men involved. The U.S. Department of Justice ruled that there were no grounds to make an arrest or press charges. No one was charged with the crime.