To Kill a Mockingbird Research Project
The novel TKAM is considered by many to be one of the best American novels. It is funny, smart, and it will break your heart. It is also rich with historical information and often alludes to real life events surrounding this time period. In order to fully grasp the novel, we must understand the time period which surrounds it, so we can fully comprehend the various conflicts which arise.
In a group of 2-3
1. Jim Crow Laws: Their History, Guiding Policies, and Impact on of color
a) Explain what Jim Crow Laws were and how, where, and why they originated. Who was Jim Crow? What were the original laws and policies
b) What impact did Jim Crow laws have on blacks and what rights did they violate? How did whites and states defend Jim Crow laws?
2. The Ku Klux Klan: Its History and Methods of Instilling Fear
a) Explain where the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) originated in the United States. What was its mission and who were its members?
b) Provide significant historical facts about the group.
c) What impact did the KKK have on life in America (particularly on blacks and minorities? What methods did the organization use in order to promote its agenda?
d) What influence did the KKK have on local governments and people in power?
3. Plessy v. Ferguson: A Landmark Case and Its Impact on “Separate but Equal”
a) Explain and summarize the case (who was involved, what the case was about, when it occurred, and what the final decision was)
b) Why was this case such a significant one in terms of its impact on life for blacks? How did it push the agenda of “separate but equal,” and how was this constitutional?
4. Lynching and Lynch Mobs: Citizen Enforcement of Jim Crow Laws and Nooses: Modern Day Symbolic Threats (the Jena Six) and Sundown Towns
a) Give a brief history of lynchings in America and the origins of the lynch mob. What influence did they have on local governments and people in power?
b) How did lynchings come to represent white hatred of blacks? Why were so many white people supportive of them? At their peak, how frequent were lynchings of black people by white lynch mobs in America? Where in the country were they most prominent? What were sundown towns? How were they connected to lynchings?
c) Explain the recent re-emergence of the symbols of lynching (the Jena Six and others). What effect has it had on racial tensions in America?
5. America and the World in the 1930s: The Time Period of To Kill a Mockingbird. The Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression: The Impact on Economic Prosperity for Blacks and Whites in America
a) What was Black Friday? What caused the stock market to crash? Had it happened before? Where and when? Could the stock market crash have been prevented? How?
b) What impact did the stock market crash have on Americans and life in America? Explain some of the tragic events that occurred immediately after the crash.
c) Explain what the Great Depression was and its importance or prominence in American history. Who was president, and what policies affected the Great Depression?
d) What factors led to the Great Depression? What was life like for Americans during the Great Depression? Who was hardest hit and how? What were some examples you can give to make the Great Depression real to today’s audience?
6. The Dust Bowl: The Impact on Economic Prosperity for Blacks and Whites
a) What was the Dust Bowl? Where did it take place and when? Who was directly affected by it?
b) What impact did the Dust Bowl have on life in America? How is it connected to the Great Depression? Could it have been prevented? If so, how? Has anything been done since then to prevent it from happening again, or could it still happen?
c) How did Herbert Hoover deal with this natural disaster and the people involved? What were Hoovervilles, and why were they called that? Who were the Okies? Explain the problems that arose in the country in places like California as a result of the Dust Bowl, the Okies, and migrant farming.
7. Herbert Hoover vs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Two Presidencies, Two Policies, One Era in American History
a) When was Herbert Hoover president? What condition was the country in when he started as President? What were his major policies as president (economic and domestic policies, specifically)? What major changes happened in the United States while Hoover was president? What condition was the country in when he left office? What was his legacy as president (Hoovervilles and what he is remembered for)?
b) When was FDR president? What condition was the country in when he started as president? What were his major policies as president (economic and domestic policies, specifically)? What major changes happened in the United States while FDR was president? What condition was the country in when he left office? What was his legacy as president (the New Deal and what he is remembered for)?
c) Compare and contrast each presidency and the effect both had on the country. What were some famous quotes from each president? Explain the significance of these quotes.
8. The Rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany: Hitler’s Rise to Power, the Formation of the Nazi Party, and the Treatment of Blacks in the United States Compared to Jews in Germany
a) Who was Adolph Hitler? When was he born, and what was his family like? Explain how he came into power in Germany (the condition of Germany before Hitler rose to power and Hitler’s policies and beliefs that gained him a following).
b) Who were the Nazis? What were their beliefs and political philosophies that appealed to Germans and gave them popularity? Why were Jewish people the target of Hitler’s and the Nazis’ hatred (what they blamed the Jews for and why)? Explain how the Nazis gained a following and rose to power.
c) Compare the treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany at this time to the treatment of blacks in America at the same time. Specifically look at the condition of Germany and the United States economically and politically, and explain laws in both countries that were created in each to target Jews and blacks.
9. The Scottsboro Case: A Landmark Case and Its Impact on Capital Punishment Cases
a) Explain and summarize the case (who was involved, what the charges were, when it occurred, and what the final decision was)
b) Why was this case such a significant one in terms of its impact on capital punishment?
c) What were the mistakes made in this case by prosecutors, defenders, and witnesses that indicate this may have not been a fair case? How does this case illustrate how race impacted the outcomes of many court cases?
An infographic is a collection of imagery, charts, and minimal text that gives an easy-to-understand overview of a topic.