Similarities Between the Scottsboro Boys and Tom Robinson

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Scottsboro Boys, Great Depression Pages: 3 (957 words) Published: December 16, 2010
There are many similarities between the Scottsboro trial and the trial of Tom Robinson in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. “No crime in American history—let alone a crime that never occurred—produced as many trials, convictions, reversals, and retrials as did an alleged gang rape of two white girls by nine black teenagers on a Southern railroad freight run on March 25, 1931” (Linder 1). The author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, was a young girl during the Scottsboro trial and based the trial of Tom Robinson in her novel off of the Scottsboro trial of 1931. The three main similarities between the Scottsboro trial and the trial of Tom Robinson are the geographic settings, the portrayal of racism, and the specifics of the court cases.

The geographic settings in both cases are in Alabama. Tom Robinson’s trials took place in Maycomb, Alabama; the Scottsboro trials took place in Scottsboro, Alabama. Both cases were during the Great Depression and in the 1930s. Such was the backdrop of Harper Lee’s childhood when the Scottsboro case would have left such an impression. Lee wrote her novel with many similarities of her life as a child, the setting of the novel and the setting of the Scottsboro trial share similarities. The geographic setting is an important similarity, but it is not as important as the racism expressed against Tom Robinson and the Scottsboro Boys.

“Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand” (Lee 76). This quote was stated by Atticus in which he says that he does not understand racism and why people automatically make a big deal about anything that involves an African American. And this says that Atticus does not understand why segregation and racism run peoples lives and perspectives. The definition of racism is the belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual...

Cited: Carter, Dan T. Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1960.
Linder, Douglas O. “The Trials of the Scottsboro Boys.”
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