Compare and Contrast: “to Kill a Mockingbird” & Scottsboro Trials

969 Words Oct 29th, 2008 4 Pages
When Harper Lee was writing about the trial of Tom Robinson in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” she had a very real case to look to for inspiration. The trial of the Scottsboro Boys was a world renowned case in the 1930’s in which nine black youths were accused of raping to white girls in Alabama. Lee’s novel took this case and created the fictional case of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a lower class white girl in a small town in Alabama during the Depression-era. The Scottsboro trials were the main source of inspiration for Lee’s novel, and although the circumstances of the novel differed from the real-life scandal, the similarities between the two cases are quite abundant.

The accusations made in the Scottsboro case by
…show more content…
Tom Robinson was at least given the opportunity to testify in his own trial, though he was treated harshly by the prosecuting attorney. Robinson was still convicted, despite being the only witness in the whole trial who got his story straight. There was a severe lack of evidence in both cases. A doctor was called in the Scottsboro case to look at the girls, but the doctor was not cross-examined in court. There was no doctor at all in Tom Robinson’s case, therefore, no proof that Mayella Ewell was even raped. There were similar circumstances that were overlooked in both cases, though. Two of the Scottsboro boys had health issues that would have made it difficult, if not impossible to rape the girls. One had syphilis at the time and another was nearly blind. Tom Robinson was also handicapped by his injured left arm, which would have made it hard for him to attack anyone, and whoever assaulted Mayella had to have had full use of both hands. These factors were disregarded in the final verdict of Tom Robinson, but they eventually worked in the favor of the two Scottsboro Boys. The defendants in both cases were sentenced to death by all white juries. This resulted in several mistrials for the Scottsboro case, and Robinson was given the chance to appeal.

Many of the Scottsboro boys either eventually had their sentences reduced or were let off completely over the course of

Related Documents