Author Harper Lee Dies


Maya Jackson

Junior John Mark Junkins reads “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the library. “[Harper Lee] served as an activist, a progressivist and an icon,” Junkins said. “In life she [was] a champion for equality, and in death she will serve as a model and a memory of how literature can impact society and how words can touch people’s hearts.”

Julia Nall, Print Editor

Nelle Harper Lee, author of the 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, died today, Feb. 19, 2016, in her Alabama hometown of Monroeville at the age of 89.

Lee spent much of her life in the South, an element reflected in her books. To Kill a Mockingbird and its recently published first draft, Go Set a Watchman, are Southern in nature: full of small town charm, religion and tradition. Both novels address racial prejudice in Alabama.

The book lingers with some students, many of whom read it as required reading in ninth grade.

To Kill a Mockingbird gave me new insight as to how I should view the people around me and how I should treat them,” junior John Mark Junkins said. “The words of Atticus Finch have followed me for years. The book is just all about seeing past prejudices and preconceptions, and it is an issues that we still face today.”

To Kill a Mockingbird’s social commentary has applied to American culture for years.

“An older generation remembers how the book pushed them into this realm of questioning and wants to create that experience again for the next generation,” AP Language teacher Tara Seale said in a 2015 Huffington Post interview. “It is a book that helps us grow and move towards becoming a more understanding and tolerant society, which is ultimately what we would all like to have happen.”

Generations will continue to read her novels. Her family has announced a private memorial service, and Lee has no spouse or children.

“She has influenced many people through her books,” senior Sarah Hutchinson said. “I’m glad that her influence will continue after her passing.”


“The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think.”   -Harper Lee