Teaching Mockingbird Media Resources

These materials were selected to help readers contextualize the setting and understand the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. There are videos on themes ranging from growing up in the south during the Jim Crow-era, to the history of lynching in the United States, to the role of stereotypes and bias in our culture, and on Scout's character. You can also find photos, art, and audio interviews here to help stimulate discussion and understanding of the many themes of the novel that continue to resonate today.

Also be sure to check out activities for Mockingbird that use these resources.

 

Videos

Understanding Jim Crow (Setting the Setting)

David Cunningham, chair of the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University, explores systems of racial separation and institutionalized segregation known as Jim Crow.

The Origins of Lynching Culture in the United States

Paula Giddings, professor of Afro-American Studies at Smith College, discusses the history and origins of lynching.

Custom and Conscience: Margot Stern Strom reflects on growing up in Memphis, TN in the 1950s

Margot Stern Strom, the founder and President Emerita of Facing History and Ourselves, describes growing up in Jim Crow-era Memphis.

How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do

Claude Steele describes the idea and effects of stereotype threat in our daily lives.

Hey, Boo: Considering the Character of Scout

Novelists, as well as the actress Mary Badham, who played To Kill a Mockingbird's narrator, Scout, reflect on this character and the ways in which she addresses issues of gender, race relations, and growing up in the South.

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Images

Teaching Mockingbird: Images

These photographs were taken by Walker Evans in the 1930s for the Farm Security Administration of the United States Government. The government established the FSA to help document the reality and effects of the Great Depression on farmers and communities in the rural South.

Radio Interviews

Audio
Race in US History

Studs Terkel Interview with Emma Tiller

Studs Terkel interviews Emma Tiller, a cook who describes how African Americans would feed people who were in need during the Great Depression, without any regard to their skin color.

Audio
Race in US History

Studs Terkel Interview with Virginia Foster Durr

In an interview with Studs Terkel, Virginia Foster Durr, a prominent American civil rights activist, reflects on life during the Great Depression, particularly the way that people on government relief felt shame and guilt over their own suffering and poverty, rather than blaming the capitalist system.

Audio
Race in US History

Studs Terkel Interview with Eileen Barthe

In this segment of an interview conducted by Studs Terkel, Eileen Barthe, a government relief case worker during the Great Depression, remembers an experience that caused a recipient of relief to face deep humiliation.

Fine Art

Glenn Ligon's Untitled: Four Etchings

Artist Glenn Ligon created Untitled: Four Etchings using quotations from writer Zora Neale Hurston's essay, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" and Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man.

Readings

Reading

Firsthand Accounts of the Great Depression

Read and listen to firsthand accounts of the shame, humiliation, and deprivation experienced by those who lived through the Great Depression.

Reading
Race in US History

Being Well Born: New Civic Biology by George William Hunter

Read excerpts of George William Hunter’s book about the now-disproved idea that traits like intelligence and morality are handed down from generation to generation.

Reading
Race in US History

You Worked Long Hours

Explore what it was like to be a domestic worker for a white Southern family with this firsthand account.

Reading
Race in US History

The Birthday Party: Outside the Magic Circle by Virginia Foster Durr

In her autobiography, Outside the Magic Circle, white southerner Virginia Foster Durr recalls how the customs of the Jim Crow South affected her seventh birthday party.

Reading
Race in US History

Understanding Jim Crow

Deepen students' understanding of the systems of racial separation and institutionalized segregation known as Jim Crow to better grasp the time and setting of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Reading
Race in US History

H. J. Williams Recalls Work and School In Yazoo County, Mississippi

H. J. Williams describes what it was like to go to school and work in the segregated South.

Reading
Race in US History

H. J. Williams Recalls Learning About the Rules of Jim Crow in Yazoo County, Mississippi

H. J. Williams, in an interview about living in the segregated South, describes when he first realized that blacks and whites were treated differently.

Reading
Race in US History

H. J. Williams Recalls Lynching in Yazoo County, Mississippi

H. J. Williams, in an interview about living in the segregated South, shares a memory of a lynching that took place in Yazoo County, Mississippi.

Reading

A Rainbow Creation

Author Lori Duron writes about how her young son C.J.’s identity defies the expectations others have of him because of his gender.

Reading
Race in US History

Roosevelt Williams Recalls Farming During His Youth in Alabama

Roosevelt Williams shares his memories of farming cotton in segregated Alabama.

Reading
Race in US History

Roosevelt Williams Recalls Learning about the Rules of Jim Crow in Alabama

Roosevelt Williams describes his memories of interactions between races in the segregated South.

Reading
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Roosevelt Williams Recalls Voting in Alabama

Roosevelt Williams describes voting in segregated Alabama in the 1930s and 1940s.

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