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Historical Background for Reading To Kill a Mockingbird

Historical Background for Reading To Kill a Mockingbird

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Historical Background for Reading To Kill a Mockingbird

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  1. Historical Background for ReadingTo Kill a Mockingbird English II Unit 3 2012.2013

  2. Civil War Ends • Union (the North) Victory in 1865 gave 4 million slaves freedom

  3. Reconstruction Period1865 - 1877 • A time for rebuilding after the Civil War • 13th Amendment – freed slaves • 14th Amendment – citizenship • 15th Amendment – right to vote • Civil Rights Act, 1875 – equal rights

  4. Ku Klux Klan (KKK)1866 • Early KKK founded by veterans of the Confederate Army • Purpose – to resist Reconstruction • Used violent methods • President Ulysses S. Grant destroyed KKK with the Civil Rights Act of 1875

  5. 1915 – William Joseph Simmons founded 2nd KKK • They preached racism, anti-Catholicism, nativism, and anti-Semitism. • They took part in lynchings and other violent crimes.

  6. Jim Crow Laws1877 • Challenges came when legislatures in the south passed restrictive “black codes” to control the labor and behavior of former slaves • When Reconstruction ended, their rights began to dwindle.

  7. Plessy v. Ferguson1890 • Louisiana passed a law requiring blacks to ride in separate rail cars. • Homer Plessy, a Louisiana carpenter and 7/8 caucasian, was arrested after sitting in a car for whites. • Judge ruled against Plessy. Supreme Court upheld the ruling (1896) and led the way for racial segregation.

  8. Southern SegregationAfter Plessy v. Ferguson • Southern states passed laws that restricted African American’s access to schools, restaurants, hospitals, and public places.

  9. Cumming v. County Board of Education1899 • Ruled that separate schools were valid even if comparable schools for blacks were not available

  10. “Whites Only” and “Colored” • Signs were posted at entrances and exits, water fountains, waiting rooms, and restrooms.

  11. Georgia 1905 • Law passed requiring separate public parks

  12. Mobile, Alabama1909 • Created 10:00P.M. curfew for blacks

  13. South Carolina1915 • Blacks and whites were restricted from working together in the same room of textile factories

  14. The Great Depression, 1930 - 1939

  15. The Great Depression Timeline • October 1929 – The stock market crashed causing $30 billion in stock values to “disappear” • March 1930 – Over 32 million people unemployed • February 1931 – Food riots break out in parts of U.S. • December 1931 – New York’s Bank of the U.S. collapses • April 1932 – Over 750,000 New Yorkers on city relief, 160,000 on the waiting list • November 1932 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected president • April 1933 – Civilian Conservation Corp. (CCC), a work program for men 17 – 27 is established

  16. The Great Depression Overview • Lasted 1930 – 1939 • 9,000 banks went out of business • 9 million savings accounts – wiped out • 86,000 businesses failed • Wages decreased by an average of 60% • Unemployment rate went from 9% to 25% • Whites called for blacks to be fired from any jobs as long as there were whites out of work. • Racial violence becomes more common. • Birth rate fell • Families fell apart • Wives and children forced to help families survive • Women found their status enhanced by their new roles. • Minorities – “last hired and first fired”

  17. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee • Published in 1960 • Called a classic American masterpiece • The novel won Pulitzer Prize in 1961 • Adapted into an Oscar winning film in 1962 • Set in the 1930’s Deep South • Fictional setting: Maycomb County, Alabama • Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama (possible setting)

  18. November 2007 - Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. • In his remarks, Bush stated, "One reason To Kill a Mockingbird succeeded is the wise and kind heart of the author, which comes through on every page... To Kill a Mockingbird has influenced the character of our country for the better. It's been a gift to the entire world. As a model of good writing and humane sensibility, this book will be read and studied forever."