One of my favorite gifts is an autographed copy of the 35th anniversary edition of the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, first published in 1960. In the Pulitzer Prize winning novel authored by Harper Lee, she writes about racial injustice, human tragedy and the impact individuals can have through triumph and failure. It is studied in high schools, college class rooms and law schools. It teaches us about justice, integrity and the best of family values. It motivates us to be better people, to fight against injustice and to respect and value diversity.
My favorite quote from the book is when Atticus gives advice to Scout:
First of all…if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
Gregory Peck starred in the 1962 movie by the same name. He portrays Atticus Finch, a small town lawyer, who defends an African-American man wrongfully accused of rape. His daughter, Scout, is
portrayed by Mary Baddham, who narrates the story through the eyes of a child. The movie was nominated for 8 academy awards. Gregory Peck won an Oscar for Best Actor. He was later honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifetime humanitarian efforts. Perhaps, like many others, he was motivated by the character he portrayed.
The movie is being rereleased today, the 50th anniversary of the movie. It has been digitally remastered and restored. Perhaps it is time for all of us to reread the book or watch the movie as a reminder of committing ourselves to being the best we can be.