American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war between 1861 and 1865, and was the war that determined what nation America would be. The war was fought between several southern slave states who called themselves the Confederate slaves, and the rest of the states, called the United States. The first hostilities were on April 12, 1861, when Confederate States fired on Fort Sumter, A Union fort in South Carolina held by United State Generals. Alabama is in the south and was part of the Confederate states, which is a reason black people are still treated so badly many years after the civil war. People still hate the blacks and treat them like nothing, Although they are not slaves, they still have little to no rights.
Slavery in America
The black experience in America was varied, with better treatment in the northern states, and worse treatment in the south, which can be seen in the novel. Although slavery was abolished as a result of the United States victory in the civil war, people still had prejudice against blacks, and it was socially acceptable to treat black people as if they weren’t human.
In the 1930’s, America’s attention was on the Scottsboro Boys, a group of 9 black youths who were falsely accused and charged with raping 2 women in Alabama. The charging of the boys was based on false stories by people who wanted the boys to be jailed or killed after they were beaten in a fight. The case showed the barbaric treatment of blacks at this time. It all started on March 25, 1931, when the boys picked a fight with a group of white youths and won, tossing some off the train. Inside the train were 2 white women, who agreed after being persuaded to testify against the black youths. They claimed that they had all savagely abused and raped her. The Scottsboro Boys were all sentenced to death except the youngest, a 12 year old boy. This was in the same state that To Kill a Mockingbird is set and the trial of Tom Robinson is a parallel to the Scottsboro trials in many aspects. Both included the fact that there was no real evidence, and that the word of a young white women was taken against a black man’s.
Ku Klux Klan
The Ku Klux Klan is the name of the 3 Klans of the past and present which take extreme far right political views, especially on races. The Klan is a white supremacy group in the United States which is not socially acceptable now, but was quite ordinary after the Civil War, which was all about slavery and the supremacy of whites. The first Ku Klux Klan started in the early 1860’s and died out in the late 70’s. The members of the Klans adopted the white costumes: robes, masks and the conical hats, which were designed to be terrifying, hide their identities, and emphasise the importance of the purity of whiteness. The Klan was revived in 1915, after the release of the film “The Birth of a Nation” which glorified the original Klan and made them legends. The Klan is associated with acts of terrorism such as lynchings and burnings of homes. They also oppose groups such as Catholics, seen in their burning of the cross, and the gay rights movement/s. The numbers were large in the first Klan, with about 500,000, peaked at about 6,000,000 in the 2nd Klan, which is a huge number. This was a result of the period after the civil war, where people, especially from the southern Confederate states. However from the time of the founding of the 3rd Klan in 1946, people were actively campaigning for more black rights, and it was becoming more and more unacceptable to be in a white supremacy group, and soon became considered a terrorist group rather than a protest group. However due to the right of freedom of speech, their protests are still no illegal if no hate crimes are committed.
The context of the novel is in the 1930’s, around the time when Harper Lee was born. Lee experienced the religion of the area and time first hand when