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To Kill A Mockingbird


To Kill A Mockingbird A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday does not know where it is today. -Robert E. Lee – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird
  • A nation which does not remember what it was
    yesterday does not know where it is today.
  • -Robert E. Lee

Harper Lee
  • Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in
    Monroeville, Alabama
  • She is the youngest of four children of Amasa
    Coleman Lee and Frances Finch Lee.
  • In 1960, To Kill A Mockingbird was published. 
  • To Kill A Mockingbird was the only book Harper
    Lee ever wrote.

Connections between Harper Lee and the
protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout
  • Harper Lee would have been the same age as Scout
    when the story takes place
  • Lees father was also a small town lawyer
  • It is rumored that Harper had a mysterious
    recluse living in her neighborhood, like the
    character Boo Radley
  • Harper was a tomboy, like Scout
  • Harpers mothers maiden name was Finch

Another connection The Scottsboro Trial
  • In April 1931, in Scottsboro, Alabama, nine
    African-American menthe youngest being twelve
    years oldwere tried for raping two white women.
  • Medical testimony showed that the two women had
    not been raped, but the all-white jury convicted
    the men and sentenced them to death.
  • In six appellate trials, most of the convictions
    were overturned, and all but one of the men were
    subsequently freed or paroled.
  • Even though she was only six years old when the
    first trial took place, this trial had a
    significant impact on Harper Lee, and it served
    as the basis for the trial in To Kill a

The South in the Early 1900s
  • In the 1930s, the South was immersed in the Great
  • Poverty and unemployment were rampant, with over
    13 million Americans having lost their jobs since
  • Between 1929 and 1932, farm prices fell by over
    50 percent, and the average income in 1929 was
    about 750, but annual farm income was only about

The Stock Market Crash of 1929
  • The crash wiped out 40 of the paper values of
    common stock.
  • Banks failed
  • Businesses closed doors
  • Factories shut down
  • By 1932 approximately one in four Americans was
  • Sound familiar?

Why did the Stock Market Crash?
  • The country was producing more than people could
  • People put their savings into stocks and real
    estate, but much of this was based on
  • The government did little to regulate business
    and unwise investing.
  • High tariffs were instated to protect American
    businesses, this hurt American farmers.
  • What caused this plan to fail?

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Why was the South hit so hard by the Great
  • The South was primarily an agrarian, or
    farm-based economy. Most of the farms were owned
    by white families.
  • Prices dropped so dramatically on crops, that
    farmers were not able to make enough money from
    their land
  • Needing to borrow money for seeds, equipment,
    food, etc., these farmers became very poor, and
    very in debt

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  • The majority of African-American farmers worked
    as sharecroppers in the white peoples fields,
  • In the sharecropping system, the landowner
    divided his land into shares, and he provided
    small houses, tools, and seeds for the
  • Once the crop was harvested, the landowners
    received a percentage of the profits, after
    having taken out the expenses they had incurred
    on behalf of the sharecroppers.
  • In the end, the sharecroppers usually made very
    little, and owed quite a bit of money.

A Sharecroppers Kitchen
How did this contribute to racism in the South?
  • As poverty hit more and more people,
    specifically, the white farmers, stress built as
    they were not able to pay their bills or keep
    their land
  • This stress aggravated racism that was already
    present in the South

What the South was like
  • Upper class white people in the South generally
    came from long lines of upper class, educated
  • A familys reputation, or history, was a
    indicator of how much respect they would get from
  • These wealthy people usually employed
    African-Americans in domestic roles-nannies,
    maids, cooks, etc.
  • This reinforced the social structure that kept
    African-Americans in a lower class than their
    white neighbors

Dorothea Lange
  • I saw and approached the hungry and desperate
    mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not
    remember how I explained my presence or my camera
    to her, but I do remember she asked me no
    questions. I made five exposures, working closer
    and closer from the same direction. I did not ask
    her name or her history. She told me her age,
    that she was thirty-two. She said that they had
    been living on frozen vegetables from the
    surrounding fields, and birds that the children
    killed. She had just sold the tires from her car
    to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent
    with her children huddled around her, and seemed
    to know that my pictures might help her, and so
    she helped me. There was a sort of equality about

Life on the move
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Middle Class Families take to the road
  • Part of an impoverished family of nine on a New
    Mexico highway. Depression refugees from Iowa.
    Left Iowa in 1932 because of father's ill health.
    Father an auto mechanic laborer, painter by
    trade, tubercular. Family has been on relief in
    Arizona but refused entry on relief roles in Iowa
    to which state they wish to return. Nine children
    including a sick four-month-old baby. No money at
    all. About to sell their belongings and trailer
    for money to buy food. "We don't want to go where
    we'll be a nuisance to anybody." Children of
    migrant workers typically had no way to attend
    school. By the end of 1930 some 3 million
    children had abandoned school. Thousands of
    schools had closed or were operating on reduced
    hours. At least 200,000 children took to the
    roads on their own.

Approximately 2.5 million residents of the South
abandoned their homes and took to the road in
hopes of finding work.
African Americans Suffer the Most
  • As jobs became scarce, African Americans were hit
    the hardest. Most jobs available, both skilled
    and unskilled, were reserved for whites.
  • Despite the passing of the Social Security Act in
    1935 which was designed to help Americans,
    African Americans did not benefit from this aid.

Jim Crow Laws
Franklin Roosevelt presents the New Deal
  • The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,
    stated Roosevelt in his inaugural address.
  • Civilian Conservation Corps
  • Agricultural Adjustment Act
  • National Industry Recovery Act
  • Work Progress Administration
  • How did these programs help the economy?

Did the programs really work?
  • WWII began just as the New Deal was put in place.
  • Did the war help the economy?
  • Did the New Deal help the economy?