Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Was To Kill a Mockingbird a True Story?


Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) and Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) during the latter's trial for rape, in To Kill a Mockingbird

[See also at WEJB/NSU:

“Atticus Finch and the Folly of the Civil Rights Movement.”]

By David in TN

Where to begin? I can't count the number of white liberals I've known who seem to think To Kill a Mockingbird is a true story. In college, I had a political science-history professor who was fairly prominent nationally in his field. He had a doctorate and was once something like President of the National Association of Political Science Professors.

He believed in the Constitution and political process, and considered himself an FDR-JFK Democrat. He also called himself a “Party Man.” Anything the Democratic Party advocated, he supported.

Sometimes I would show him something Lawrence Auster or Samuel Francis had written and he'd say, “Who's this guy Auster?,” or “Who's Francis?” My ex-teacher was a very nice man. He died 10 years ago.

Anyway, his favorite book and film was—surprise, surprise—To Kill a Mockingbird. Once I told him TKAM was a fictional story that never happened in real life.

This Doctor of Arts was speechless.


Anonymous said...

It probably was a real story. Or based on a real story or a composite thereof.


David In TN said...

Several years ago there was a biography of Harper Lee titled "Mysteries of the Mockingbird," author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Her father, Amasa Lee, was no liberal, but in the 1950's he did support civil rights to some extent. According to a review of the Harper Lee biography by Mark Tooley in the May 2007 Chronicles magazine:

"Respected by both blacks and whites, Mr. Lee opposed cruelty and any overt injustice. In 1919, he unsuccessfully defended two black men accused of murder. A jury found them guilty, they were hanged, and their bodies were mutilated. Amasa Lee never accepted another criminal case."

So Harper Lee's real life father was NOT like the fictional character in the current novel which has liberals in a collective nervous breakdown.

And the real case Lee's father tried was nothing like the fictional one. The real trial took place seven years before Harper Lee was born.