Category: harper lee

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What keeps us from acting?

Lillian Smith wrote Now is the Time (1955) in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Smith saw the decision as every child’s Magna Carta, and in Now is the Time, she laid out that in order to move forward, we must act. The book, in essence, as Rose Gladney and Lisa Hodgens put it, “crystallized approximately two decades … Read More What keeps us from acting?

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Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lillian E. Smith: Part I

On February 4, 1968, two months before his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered “The Drum Major Instinct” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. During the sermon, King pointed out that the drum major instinct can lead to “tragic race prejudice.” On this point, he continued, “Many have written about this problem—Lillian Smith used to say it beautifully in some of her books. And she would … Read More Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lillian E. Smith: Part I

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American History and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Last post, I wrote about the Southern paradoxes in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Today, I want to look at the opening of the novel because Scout traces the events of the novel deep into our nation’s history, before Jem, Scout, or Atticus arrived on the scene. This is important because for all of the missed moments of reflection in the novel, the … Read More American History and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

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Southern Paradoxes in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Every time I read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird (1960), I’m reminded of the book’s problematic nature. Why do we continue to put so much stock in Lee’s novel, teaching it in high schools across the nation? Alice Randall points out the problems within Lee’s novel and states, “Let’s be clear: “To Kill a Mockingbird” is not a children’s book. It is an … Read More Southern Paradoxes in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”