From this brief description on life during the 1930's, a reader can see that To Kill A Mockingbird truly
captured the mood of the time period.
Life in the south, after the civil war was hard, especially for African Americans. Many whites harbored
bitter feelings for the gains the former slaves had made. As a result, the Ku Klux Klan, a secret society, was
formed to promote white supremacy. It's goals were to undo all the gains African Americans had achieved
and used violence and terrorism to do so. Because of these acts, many African Americans were
sharecroppers and lived a life of poverty and discrimination.
Also during this time, many injustices to minorities, particularly African Americans took place. For
example, in what is known as the Scottsboro Trial, eight young African American men and boys were
accused of raping two while females on a freight train. The boys were found guilty of rape even though the
main accuser didn't have the most admirable reputation. As a result of this prejudice on the juries part, the
boys were sentenced to death. However, the ILD, or International Labor Defense, launched a campaign to
support the boys and eventually the death penalty was dropped.
By the late 1800's, African Americans were also forced to abide by the so-called "Jim Crow" Laws.
The Jim Crow laws were passed only in the south, and required trains to have separate cars for the African
Americans. They even mandated segregation in public places, such as restaurants, hotels, and parks. In
Atlanta, different Bibles were used for African Americans and whites to swear upon in court.
African Americans were not the only ones treated differently in the south during this time period, the
women also had to conform to a particular way of life.They were expected to play the role of a "lady", tend
to "female" tasks, and refrain from getting involved in men's affairs.
The twentieth century saw the south way behind the north in industrial progress. Consequently, the
south remained basically an agricultural area. With the on-set of The Great Depression in the 1930's, life
became hard for everyone, especially the people who depended on the land for a living. Money was very
tight if money was even available. Having already seen hard times, the African Americans in the south only
found their poverty intensified by the Depression.