The links from this page are to material from primary source documents which students and teachers may use to explore the historical and social events of the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, there are presently two collections of QuickTime movies taken from archival film footage. In some cases the material can be directly downloaded from this site or you will be pointed to the Library of Congress web site for downloading a particular movie or image.
We envision students learning about the social and historical events through an examination of the resources found here on this website, with tips on where to find additional material either on the Internet or through periodicals/journals. Once students have gathered the necessary background information, we feel that their understanding of themes and characters will be significantly enhanced by connecting the book to its place in the American cultural history. For more explanation on the use of primary source documents, click here.
Many of the documents are excerpted from the book by Claudia Durst Johnson, Understanding To Kill a Mockingbird. The book has much to offer students and teachers in the way of first hand interviews as well as transcriptions of newspaper accounts and trial records that many students would be unable to locate. Dr. Johnson generously allowed us to copy from her book a few sections to serve as a stimulus for investigation. If you are interested in purchasing the book so as to have all of the resources she makes available, contact:
The Greenwood Press
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
Phone: (203) 226-3571
- The Scottsboro Trials
- "Tom Robinson's trial bears striking parallelsto the "Scottsboro Trial," one of the most famous- or infamous- court cases in American history."
- The Civil Rights Movement
- "The dramatic impact of the novel To Kill A Mockingbird was heightened by the conditions under which African-Americans were living in the deep South, the emerging changes in their legal situation, and the turbulent relationship between the races at the time of its publication."
- Publication Timeline
- Timeline shows the publication/release of the novel and film alongside of the Civil Rights chronology
- The Author and the Book
- Chart shows the connection of the author to the main character, Scout
- Mculley Quarter Interview
- An interview with a women about growing up black and poor in Alabama in the 1930s.
- Interview: Southern Girlhood
- An interview with 3 southern women who describe their experiences as young girls when their were close to Scout's age.
Johnson, Claudia Durst. Understanding To Kill A Mockingbird. The Greenwood Publishing, Inc. Wesport, CT:©1994.