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Historical Context for To Kill a Mockingbird

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Title: Historical Context for To Kill a Mockingbird


1
Historical Context for To Kill a Mockingbird
The Great Depression
2
Then and Now Prices Then and Now Prices Then and Now Prices
WOMEN'S CLOTHES THEN NOW
Winter Coat 28.00  
Leather or Suede Bag 2.25  
Bathrobe 1.00  
Sweater 1.00  
MEN'S CLOTHES THEN NOW
Broadcloth Shirt 1.00  
Wool Sweater 1.00  
Bathrobe 4.90  
Overcoat 18.50  
GAMES AND TOYS THEN NOW
Sled that Steers 3.95 - 8.95  
Ping Pong Table 23.50 to 37.50  
Mechanical Toys 3 for.59  
Doll 1.95  
ITEMS FOR THE HOME THEN NOW
Table Lamp 1.00  
Portable Electric Sewing Machine 23.95  
Electric Washing Machine 33.50  
Gas Stove 19.95  
Then and Now Wages Then and Now Wages Then and Now Wages
WEEKLY WAGES (general averages) THEN NOW
Manufacturing--Production Worker 16.89 500
Cook 15.00 236
Doctor 61.11 1800
Accountant 45.00 700
 
 
 
 
3
1929-1939
  • Stock market crash
  • Didnt realize the effect it would have
  • No money to replenish what was borrowed

Many found being broke humiliating.
4
The Roaring 20s
  • The new concept of credit
  • People were buying
  • Automobiles
  • Appliances
  • Clothes
  • Fun times reigned
  • Dancing
  • Flappers
  • Drinking

5
Why was this bad?
  • Credit system
  • People didnt really have the money they were
    spending
  • WWI
  • The U.S. was a major credit loaner to other
    nations in need
  • Many of these nations could not pay us back

6
The Stock Market
  • People bought stocks on margins
  • If a stock is 100 you can pay 10 now and the
    rest later when the stock rose
  • Stocks fall
  • Now the person has less than 100 and no money to
    pay back

7
And then.
  • With people panicking about their money investors
    tried to sell their stocks
  • This leads to a huge decline in stocks
  • Stocks were worthless now
  • People who bought on margins now could not pay
  • Investors were average people that were now broke

8
President Hoover
  • Herbert Hoover was president at the start
  • Philosophy Well make it!
  • What He Did Nothing
  • The poor were looking for help and no ideas on
    how to correct or help were coming

9
What about the people?
  • Farmers were already feeling the effects
  • Prices of crops went down
  • Many farms foreclosed
  • People could not afford luxuries
  • Factories shut down
  • Businesses went out
  • Banks could not pay out money
  • People could not pay their taxes
  • Schools shut down due to lack of funds
  • Many families became homeless and had to live in
    shanties

10
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11
Many waited in unemployment lines hoping for a
job.
12
People in cities would wait in line for bread to
bring to their family.
13
Some families were forced to relocate because
they had no money.
14
Hooverville
  • Some families were forced to live in shanty towns
  • A grouping of shacks and tents in vacant lots
  • They were referred to as Hooverville because of
    President Hoovers lack of help during the
    depression.

15
Hooverville
16
Out of the Dust
The South and the Dust Bowl
17
A drought in the South lead to dust storms that
destroyed crops.
The Dust Bowl
18
The South Was Buried
  • Crops turned to dustNo food to be sent out
  • Homes buried
  • Fields blown away
  • South in state of emergency
  • Dust Bowl the 1 weather crisis of the 20th
    century

19
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20
Two Families During the Depression
21
A Farm Foreclosure
22
Some families tried to make money by selling
useful crafts like baskets.
23
FDR
  • When he was inaugurated unemployment had
    increased by 7 million.
  • Poor sections (like Harlem) had 50 of the pop.
    unemployed
  • Instated the New Deal

24
  • People everywhere were effected by the depression
  • It wasnt till President Roosevelt took over and
    tried to put the economy back together that
    people even saw a glimmer of hope

25
  • The Works Progress Administration (later WOR
    Projects Administration WPA) was the largest New
    Deal agency, employing millions of people and
    affecting most every locality, especially rural
    and western mountain populations. It was created
    on May 6, 1935 by Presidential order (U.S.
    Congress funded it annually but did not set it
    up).

26
To Kill a Mockingbird
27
Language, History Prejudice
  • You will hear language that may make you
    uncomfortable.
  • You may hear about actions that make you
    uncomfortable.
  • You may see pictures that make you uncomfortable.
  • The sad truth is that these are facts of history
    and we must expose ourselves to these realities
    in order to understand the novel and our
    humanity.

28
Major Historical Happenings...
  • Jim Crow Laws
  • Scottsboro Trials
  • Recovering from the Great Depression
  • Racial Injustice
  • Poor South

29
Jim Crow Laws
  • After the American Civil War most states in the
    South passed anti-African American legislation.
    These became known as Jim Crow laws.
  • These laws included segregation in
  • Schools -- Hospitals
  • Theaters -- Water fountains
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Public transportation
  • Some states forbid inter-racial marriages

30
  • These laws were instituted in 1896 and were not
    abolished till the late 1950s (even then still
    not completely).

31
Scottsboro Boys Trial
  • 9 young African-American men (13-20) accused of
    raping 2 white girls in 1931
  • Immediately sentenced to death
  • Trials went on for nearly 15 years before all the
    men were dismissed

32
  • Started on a train bound for Memphis
  • Several white men boarded and picked a fight with
    the black men
  • Whites were forced off train by the 12 black men.
    The white men reported the the black men had
    raped two white girls on the train to authorities
  • They were immediately arrested and tried in front
    of an all-white jury.

33
The trials caused a huge uproar amongst the black
community.
34
  • Are these isolated incidents?
  • Discrimination Photographs of Racial
  • Emmet Till 1955
  • High Speed Chase
  • Jena Six
  • Houston Hate Crime Against Latino On Trial
  • Matthew Wayne Sheppard

35
Harper Lee
36
  • Wrote To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960
  • Based the story on her life growing up in
    Monroeville, Alabama
  • TKAM was the only novel she ever wrote

37
  • The character of Dill, Scout and Jems playmate
    in the novel was based upon Lees actual
    neighbor, Truman Capote
  • Capote is famous for amongst other things, In
    Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffanys.

38
Main Characters
  • Scout (Jean Louise Finch) six-year-old narrator
    of story
  • Jem (Jeremy Finch) her older brother
  • Atticus Finch Jem and Scouts father, a
    prominent lawyer who defends a black man accused
    of raping a white woman
  • Arthur (Boo) Radley a thirty-three-year-old
    recluse who lives next door
  • Charles Baker (Dill) Harris Jem and Scouts
    friend who comes to visit his aunt in Maycomb
    each summer
  • Tom Robinson a respectable black man accused of
    raping a white woman
  • Calpurnia the Finches black cook

39
Social Class in the Novel
This is probably similar to how class structure
existed during the 1930s in the South. The
wealthy, although fewest in number, were most
powerful. The blacks, although great in number,
were lowest on the class ladder, and thus, had
the least privileges.
Poor Whites
Examples of each social class Wealthy -
Finches Country Folk - Cunninghams Poor Whites
Ewells Black Community Tom Robinson
40
  • In 1962 the novel was turned into a film starring
    Gregory Peck.
  • It received a humanitarian award and several
    Academy Award nominations

41
Review
  • The Great Depression
  • Jim Crow Laws Lynching
  • Current Events of Intolerance
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • TKM Survival Guide
  • The Best Study Guide for To Kill a Mockingbird
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