“Our Mockingbird” Review By: Bella

The  PBS America Refrained Our Mockingbird episode was about two high schools coming together to perform the play To Kill A Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee, and it was about the discrimination, and life in the 1930s in the south. This book wasn’t just a book, it told people about how life in the south was, and how unfair society was. This book was such a big deal it still makes an impact on today’s society. The reason these schools picked the play was because of how much of an impact it has made. The directors understood how much of an impact the book made, but they wanted their students to understand and find out the deeper meaning of Harper Lee’s book. As you find out from watching this episode as the play continues to be in progress the more the students learn.

At the beginning of this journey the schools didn’t know each other, but it didn’t take long for them all to become friends. As the play continued they started to learn a few things about the south and how colored folks weren’t treated equally as whites. They were quoted” as animals” and they used to get attacked by police dogs and get sprayed by water hoses. Nobody knew why this happened but or how all this anger got placed upon colored folks? But everyone in the south knew the social structure and where they stood in it.

As the production continues the students started to realize the message of the novel.  You start to realize that no matter where you stand it’s hard to make a difference. Atticus defended Tom Robinson and tried his absolute hardest to set him free but the judge still declared him guilty. Was this because he was black?

Tom Robinson knew no matter how hard he tried he knew he couldn’t make a difference possibly because he was black. The students also started to realize that Atticus and other whites were starting to defend color people (Tom Robinson). This is a huge step in the book because he started to explore the concept of everyone is equal, even colored folks. This is symbolizing that people are starting to realize what is right and are starting to make a change. Even though the judge issued Tom guilty the town started to make a change in little ways.

As you finish the production you begin to think about how far the United States has come. We came from segregation and treating blacks like animals to them being as equal as we are. That was the lesson the directors were trying to teach their students the history of how far we have come, and how we need to continue to treat everyone equally and with respect. Some would argue that the directors were crazy when they decided to do To Kill a Mockingbird as a play but were they really?

It was an ambitious and great choice because they were showing their students how much the United States has grown. Yes it deals with the topics of segregation and race but without talking about it how are young people going to know how to make a positive difference and how to continue to do the right thing. Yes this production choice was risky but the cast handled it very well and the play ended up being bigger and better than anyone ever thought it would be.

“Our Mockingbird” review by Alexis

In the documentary called American re framed: our mockingbird students from Alabama come together. Some student from an all black and some from an all white school came together and they create their version of To kill A mocking bird. The documentary viewed student meeting each other for the first time. As the documentary went on, the journey to mend friendship and make a wonderful play was on. In the end they created a wonderful touching version of to kill a Mocking Bird. The documentary was special because they interviewed import cast members and asked how they felt about the book. the interviewer asked how they individually portrayed the story. Many students compared it to that very experience meeting and having a chance to become friend with people of a different race. I thought very highly of this film and I urge you to watch it if you are in the mood for a interesting and entertaining film.

– Alexis

“Our Mockingbird” Documentary – A Review by Paige

The documentary Our Mockingbird was about two schools that come together, one white and one black, to perform a play based on To Kill a Mockingbird. When the kids first meet, it was awkward because they did not surround themselves with the other race. This did not happen on purpose, that was just the way it was and the background. It is interesting how segregation was over, but today we still see it: in schools, neighborhoods, and general areas because of the history from before. It made me happy to see the two schools respect each other and forget the racial differences that happened in the past and it just shows how far we have come from where we used to be. It was also interesting how everyone was very exciting to be doing this play and I thought that they would all be the typical high schoolers that just do it because the teachers want them to learn something. But this story had a great impact on all the students from both schools and it didn’t just affect the main characters, but everyone who was in it.

 

Later in the documentary, we also heard from people such as celebrities, politicians, college professors, etc. You can also tell that this story had a greater effect on people and it was not just Harper Lee’s vision of the time period and the reality. We also had some background of some of the events that were going on during the 60’s and years before about the racism that was happening. It was sad that African-Americans were capable to do a lot of things that the world had to offer, but it was just not offered for them and they could not succeed if people just shut them down every time. I also realized that segregation was still very real and alive because some of the people who talked who were white said that they never saw black people unless it was the nanny coming in and I thought, “why did it take so long for people to realize after many years this is wrong”. But later I realized that they probably did know that this was wrong, but they knew that was the way it was and there wasn’t a lot you could do about it. In the video, a white woman talked about how she felt bad for the black people and everything that was happening to them, but if she told her family that and they saw her crying for them they would be disappointed in her so in a way that particular woman did not have a choice to do the right thing and feel bad or else her family would be ashamed of her.

 

For the last part of the documentary, we see the students putting the play together and we hear their perspectives on the story and their characters they play in the performance. Overall, they all learn that the injustice surrounded To Kill a Mockingbird and they also realize that they have developed friendships with the other school and that they can overcome what was in the past and leave their differences behind. I really enjoyed watching this because it was a positive story and this is how we can make a bad thing into something good and that one book can change everyone’s views on life. For example, one man said that he would never live in Alabama from the events that happened there and then he read To Kill a Mockingbird and he moved back to Alabama because of what Harper Lee gave to us. It also showed at the end the teenagers after the performance and I thought it was special that Harper Lee came to watch them after all their hard work. After reading the book and watching this documentary it made me think about how far we have come with racism and what we still need to do to erase it.