Racism in to Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel written by Harper Lee and was published in the 1960s, when the civil rights movement was growing and trying to attain equal rights for African-Americans. During this period, racial segregation and discrimination were commonplace throughout the United States, particularly in the Southern states. Although civil rights activity was widespread when Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee chose instead to set the novel during the 1930s in Maycomb, Alabama.

The novel is written from Scouts point of view. Her upbringing has been respectful to the African-Americans in her society and she shows this with her relationship with her maid, Calpurnia. Other children her age have adopted their parents' racial views, causing many of her problems. Scout is always defending Atticus but the racist comments do not stop. These comments show just how cruel children can be to other children. She feels the need to defend her father to Francis, her cousin. He was also taunting her with accusations: "At a safe distance he called, `He's nothin' but a nigger-lover'."

Racism was very common in Maycomb and any attempt to deviate from that way of thinking was shunned, and you may as well have branded on your forehead, `nigger-lover'. The main victim of racism in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird” is Tom Robinson, the black man who is accused of raping Mayella Ewell. There was no way for Tom Robinson to be proven innocent, for he was brought in front of a white men jury for trial and prejudice had been well established in Maycomb; everybody had an evil assumption that a Negro was not to be trusted, while a white man would never lie.

Atticus Finch knows the man is innocent and proves it by stating that Mayella was bruised on only the left side of her body, but Tom has no use of his right arm, because he caught it in a mill machine. So he wouldn’t be able to hit her on the left side. But despite his best efforts, Tom Robinson was said to be guilty and was sentenced...
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