It is with great regret that we must announce that the Pulitzer-Prize winning author Nelle Harper Lee has passed away at the age of 89, at her home in Alabama. Her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, has been an international bestseller and a seminal work in the American literary world and as a representation of racism in America around the time of the Civil Rights era.
She was born in Monroeville, AL, on April 28th, 1928, the youngest of four children. Her father Asa Coleman Lee, a lawyer, became the inspiration for the famous character of Atticus Finch. The New York Times noted that she was remembered as “a tough little tomboy who enjoyed beating up the local boys, climbing trees and rolling in the dirt” – just like the protagonist of her famous work, which was declared the “best novel of the 20th century” by the Library Journal. She attended Huntington College, where she began writing – with the theme of racism pervasive throughout her life’s work.
In these times of contempt, when racism has elbowed its ugly way back into the mainstream of American politics, thanks to the machinations of vote-hungry Republicans, the message of civic duty and liberal ideals of justice that is embodied by Atticus Finch is more relevant than ever – and a stark reminder that the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement are still being fought this very day.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.