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.