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To Kill a Mockingbird: Historical Context

Literature Guide for To Kill a Mockingbird

1930's Southern America

Racial Discrimination

Jim Crow laws, in U.S. history, statutes enacted by Southern states and municipalities, beginning in the 1880s, that legalized segregation between blacks and whites. The name is believed to be derived from a character in a popular minstrel song.

Media

Words to know

boycott:
A protest by not buying certain products or using certain services until demands are met.

freedom rider:
A civil rights activist who rides on interstate buses to test their compliance with court orders to end segregation on buses and bus facilities.

segregation:
Using laws to separate whites and blacks.

sit-in:
When black activists walk into an establishment such as a restaurant for whites-only and refuse to leave until they are served or the business closes.

slavery:
People being held captive and treated as property in order to perform free labor.