Posted by on January 5, 2019 10:00 pm
Categories: µ Newsjones

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

Americans have begun to talk once again about Atticus Finch, the heroic small town Alabama lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird. The Aaron Sorkin play based on the classic 1960 novel by Harper Lee is the biggest hit on Broadway, starring Jeff Daniels as the attorney moved by his conscience, human decency, and faith in the rule of law to defend a black man wrongly accused of rape.

Good. We need reminding in today’s America that lynch law — which we like to think is a thing of the past — always had another side: the kind of taken-for-granted easy-to-live-with racism white people were used to in the South of “Mockingbird.” And we should be aware as well that those attitudes never were limited to Southerners. A lot of Donald Trump’s followers clearly wish they could return to a world where white men were men, and all others were something less.

But for all the virtues of Harper Lee’s novel or its new Broadway incarnation, they are fiction. And history can teach us more if the stories are well told and the facts are clear.

Read more at The Daily Beast.