Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

General Discussion

Showing Original Post only (View all)


(82,716 posts)
Tue Apr 29, 2014, 06:30 PM Apr 2014

4 Awesome Things Harper Lee Did After 'Mockingbird' [View all]


In 1966, a Virginian school board elected to remove all copies of To Kill a Mockingbird from their libraries, citing the book as “immoral." Outraged, Lee wrote a fiery letter to the Richmond News Leader condemning the group’s actions. “Recently,” she asserted, “I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board’s activities, and what I’ve heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read.” Lee went on to compare the officials in question to Orwellian dictators and capped off her epic beat-down by enclosing “a small contribution … that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice.”


Lee’s childhood friend Truman Capote asked her to accompany him on a trip to the small town of Holcomb, Kansas in 1959 to investigate the recent murder of a wealthy family under mysterious circumstances. It didn’t take long for Capote to discover that his companion had a much easier time talking to the locals, an ability which proved invaluable to his efforts. Lee was so dedicated to the case that she not only wrote 150 pages of notes for Capote, but also took a week-long vacation during the pre-production of To Kill a Mockingbird's film adaptation to rejoin him in Kansas so they might further examine the suspects. Truman’s best-selling account of the incident, In Cold Blood, became an instant sensation.


Though she generally declines interview requests, Lee made a rare public appearance in 2007 to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Fellow recipients that year included geneticist Francis Collins and former House Foreign Affairs committee chairman Henry Hyde. (See Lee claiming her prize at the 32:36 mark of the above clip).


In 2006, Lee composed an open letter to Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine that discussed her love of books. Her thoughts should be required reading for bookworms of all ages:

“[In] an abundant society where people have laptops, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me: I still prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. And Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up—some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.”


There is a video of her Medal of Freedom Award at the link. You can see it there if you wish. However it was Buscko that honored her. I couldn't bear to bring it here.

45 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
What a shame she never wrote another book. SheilaT Apr 2014 #1
"I have said what i wanted to say" JI7 Apr 2014 #3
I like this part, J17~ sheshe2 Apr 2014 #5
I'd rather she be a one-hit wonder (in a literary sense) alp227 Apr 2014 #4
I always heard that Truman wrote a lot of TKAM. Is this true? I dont know. zonkers Apr 2014 #6
she wrote the book but Dill was based on Capote JI7 Apr 2014 #7
That was the rumor but it really doesn't make sense. pamela Apr 2014 #12
I think that Ms Lee was terrified of the public spotlight that she implored Capote not to use her; greiner3 Apr 2014 #26
I think you misunderstood. pamela Apr 2014 #43
Their writings styles are very different The Second Stone Apr 2014 #33
I doubt that there is really any such thing as "the great American novel" Glorfindel Apr 2014 #13
Amazing woman.. Mahalo, she! Cha Apr 2014 #2
I went to Monroeville, Alabama, her home town. trof Apr 2014 #8
Thanks for the info trof. sheshe2 Apr 2014 #10
they have just added a sculpture to the lawn of the courthouse. dixiegrrrrl Apr 2014 #11
I have heard she is not doing well, so glad she is being cared for. sheshe2 Apr 2014 #16
Only image I found was in our weekly paper. dixiegrrrrl Apr 2014 #17
I grew up in Grove Hill, about 35 miles from Monroeville Frances Apr 2014 #27
I have cousins in Grove Hill and Gainestown. trof Apr 2014 #31
My mother and father are buried in Grove Hill, but Frances Apr 2014 #37
Hadn't heard of the Mitchum War. I'll look it up. trof May 2014 #45
Atticus Finch. A great and noble character. kairos12 Apr 2014 #9
I once lived close to Monroeville dinger130 Apr 2014 #14
I have always though Truman wrote To Kill a Mockingbird Omaha Steve Apr 2014 #15
Why did you think that? yardwork Apr 2014 #36
It was rumored for years Omaha Steve Apr 2014 #38
Mockingbird - one of my favorite books ever. Everything about it is wonderful. Sarah Ibarruri Apr 2014 #18
I have read this book so many times BrotherIvan Apr 2014 #19
reading books again, especially the classics is one of the most enjoyable things i have found JI7 Apr 2014 #21
I also like reading them as I age BrotherIvan Apr 2014 #28
I have to wonder if such a book exboyfil Apr 2014 #20
you have to consider the times and other context, plus in this book he was not able to save him JI7 Apr 2014 #22
As a person of color, I will never take offense when someone stands up for what is right BrotherIvan Apr 2014 #30
Lee looks like an older Scout... FailureToCommunicate Apr 2014 #23
She does! sheshe2 Apr 2014 #25
"To Kill a Mockingbird", prophetic genius madame Lee. saidsimplesimon Apr 2014 #24
She played drums for The Clash lovemydog Apr 2014 #29
Am honored to have an autographed 35th Anniversary copy of indepat Apr 2014 #32
My father died when I was ten. TNNurse Apr 2014 #34
I am so sorry you lost your dad so young. sheshe2 Apr 2014 #42
Thanks TNNurse May 2014 #44
She rules shenmue Apr 2014 #35
Atticus Egnever Apr 2014 #39
I love that name, Egnever! sheshe2 Apr 2014 #40
It is a big name. Egnever Apr 2014 #41
Latest Discussions»General Discussion»4 Awesome Things Harper L...