Resources for To Kill a Mockingbird from American Masters

American Masters, public television’s award-winning biography series, explores the lives and creative journeys of our most enduring writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, dramatists and filmmakers. This collection from PBS LearningMedia offers you access to classroom-ready videos and articles drawn from the Series broadcasts and website. Here are video resources for To Kill a Mockingbird from Seasons 25 and 26 of American Masters:

Setting:  A Portrait of a Southern Town in the 1930’s (Grades 7-12) Students learn about Harper Lee’s hometown, the inspiration for the fictional town of Maycomb. Through archival interviews, photographs, and present-day commentary (including an excerpt from an interview with Harper Lee), students see what life was like for people living in the South during the Great Depression.

Harper Lee:  Hey, Boo_do not publish (Grades 7-12) Students examine archival photos, interviews, and the novel to gain an understanding of Harper Lee, the writer and the private citizen. Commentators ranging from memoirist James McBride to novelist Anna Quindlen speculate on why Harper Lee chose to write only one novel and compare her to Boo Radley, the novel’s neighborhood recluse.

Is To Kill A Mockingbird Still Relevant Today? (Grades: 8-11) This video highlights the social climate in the South when the novel was published and when the film premiered, as well as reactions to issues presented in the story. The account by Diane McWhorter, a classmate of Mary Badham (the actress who played Scout in the movie), is given special attention.

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