The Great Depression
- After the Wall Street Crash in 1929, poverty swept America. This was called The Great Depression (in 1930).
- The Great Depression his farmers the hardest (which effects the Cunninghams, they are hit severly by poverty and can only afford to eat their spoilt crops and therefore use a lot of syrup to make it taste nicer, this is why Walter uses a lot of syrup when he has dinner at the Finches' household.).
Black people were brought from Africa to America. They were brought in overcrowded ships in poor conditions where many of them died. They were used as slaves, either to work in the cotton or sugar plantations or as household slaves, like Calpurnia.
Slavery was abolished in 1865 but black people were still almost powerless.
Black people were segregated to the point they had to have their own schools, churches, football teams and cemeteries. In TKAM, Jem and Scout are told off for visiting the black church with Calpurnia. The black people had to sit away from the white people in the court (like in the Tom Robinson case) in the balcony where it was hotter and more uncomfortable.
When Harper Lee was writing the novel, the Cilvil Rights Movement was getting underway where black people wanted the right to vote & desegregation
In 1930’s, 50% of the population of Southern towns were black but they had no rights and couldn’t marry white people.
The Civil War
The abolition of slavery after the American Civil War (1861-65) changed the legal position of black people in American society. White people now saw black people as potential competitors for jobs particularly in the hard years of the Economic Depression during which TKAM was set.
9 black men were accused of ****** two white women, four of the men were sentenced long prison sentences though lawyers argued the accusations were false. It was later found that the women were lying.