"To Kill a Mockingbird" Teaching Tolerance Through Empathy

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“To Kill a Mocking Bird”: Teaching Tolerance Through Empathy

Mary Ellyn Fogarty

December 8, 2012

America in the mid 1950’s and 1960’s was undergoing a profound social metamorphosis. Events such as, in 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, with the Supreme Court ruling public school segregation illegal, which many believe sparked the civil rights era, in 1956 Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, “precipitating the Montgomery bus boycott, led by Martin Luther King Jr.” (To Kill a Mockingbird: Civil Rights Era, 2012), in 1957 federal troops were sent to Little rock Arkansas to protect nine African American students who were going white high school, per the court ordered desegregation of school, were challenging and for some forcing the way in which Americans lived, their beliefs and their treatment of African Americans that had been indoctrinated into their consciousness from the time they were born and many did not understand why this treatment was inappropriate, prejudice and unconstitutional. For some these changes were viewed as not an intrusion or criticism of their way of life but as a positive, needed social awakening but for others it only provoked a fierce need to protect their prejudicial point of view resulting violence and inhuman acts of injustice toward African Americans. During this period a young woman by the name of Harper Lee began writing a story about a young girl in a quiet southern town going up in the south 1930’s with plot encompassing social…...

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