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Nelle Harper Lee to be honored

Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, is to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Nov. 5th.  (Well, so there is something I can agree with Bush on.  Who knew!)

I read To Kill A Mockingbird as a child, and it had a profound effect on me.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that result! 

Some of my earliest memories are of my 1st and 2nd grade school teachers urging me away from associating with my black classmates (who were my neighbors and friends) and towards my white classmates.  I know that the indignation I felt at the time helped solidify in me what would become a lifelong fight against such idiotic injustices as racism. 

Another stand-out school memory is arguing with my junior high English teacher over the appropriateness of my use of the pronoun “she” in conjunction with the noun “plumber”.

As you might imagine, reading Mockingbird in high school validated both my penchant for social justice and my insistence on being whoever I wished to be.  It was a powerful and beautiful support that I will never forget.  Thank you Ms. Lee for your work of beauty and love.  I won’t assume to know what you hoped for readers to get out of it, but for me it was love and respect as I’d never seen them expressed.

I hope others will share their experiences with Lee’s writings in the comments.

p.s. here is a bit of interesting reading on local reactions to the efforts of some to remove the word “nigger” from dramatizations of the novel.

cross-posted at BMG.

CommunityMy FDL

Nelle Harper Lee to be honored

Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, is to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Nov. 5th.  (Well, so there is something I can agree with Bush on.  Who knew!)

I read To Kill A Mockingbird as a child, and it had a profound effect on me.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that result! 

Some of my earliest memories are of my 1st and 2nd grade school teachers urging me away from associating with my black classmates (who were my neighbors and friends) and towards my white classmates.  I know that the indignation I felt at the time helped solidify in me what would become a lifelong fight against such idiotic injustices as racism. 

Another stand-out school memory is arguing with my junior high English teacher over the appropriateness of my use of the pronoun “she” in conjunction with the noun “plumber”.

As you might imagine, reading Mockingbird in high school validated both my penchant for social justice and my insistence on being whoever I wished to be.  It was a powerful and beautiful support that I will never forget.  Thank you Ms. Lee for your work of beauty and love.  I won’t assume to know what you hoped for readers to get out of it, but for me it was love and respect as I’d never seen them expressed.

I hope others will share their experiences with Lee’s writings in the comments.

p.s. here is a bit of interesting reading on local reactions to the efforts of some to remove the word “nigger” from dramatizations of the novel.

cross-posted at BMG. (more…)

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Nelle Harper Lee to be honored

Laurel Ramseyer

Laurel Ramseyer