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My Father and Atticus Finch - A Lawyer's Fight for Justice in 1930's Alabama-logo

My Father and Atticus Finch - A Lawyer's Fight for Justice in 1930's Alabama

Joseph Madison Beck

The story of Foster Beck, the author's late father, whose defense of a black man accused of rape in 1930s Alabama foreshadowed the trial at the heart of To Kill a Mockingbird. As a child, Joseph Beck heard the stories-when other lawyers came up with excuses, his father courageously defended a black man charged with raping a white woman. Now a lawyer himself, Beck reconstructs his father's role in State of Alabama vs. Charles White, Alias, a trial that was much publicized when Harper Lee was twelve years old. On the day of Foster Beck's client's arrest, the leading local newspaper reported, under a page-one headline, that "a wandering negro fortune teller giving the name Charles White" had "volunteered a detailed confession of the attack" of a local white girl. However, Foster Beck concluded that the confession was coerced. The same article claimed that "the negro accomplished his dastardly purpose," but as in To Kill a Mockingbird, there was evidence at the trial to the contrary. Throughout the proceedings, the defendant had to be escorted from the courthouse to a distant prison "for safekeeping," and the courthouse itself was surrounded by a detachment of sixteen Alabama highway patrolmen. The saga captivated the community with its dramatic testimonies and emotional outcome. It would take an immense toll on those involved, including Foster Beck, who worried that his reputation had cast a shadow over his lively, intelligent, and supportive fiance, Bertha, who had her own social battles to fight. This riveting memoir, steeped in time and place, seeks to understand how race relations, class, and the memory of southern defeat in the Civil War produced such a haunting distortion of justice, and how it may figure into our literary imagination.

The story of Foster Beck, the author's late father, whose defense of a black man accused of rape in 1930s Alabama foreshadowed the trial at the heart of To Kill a Mockingbird. As a child, Joseph Beck heard the stories-when other lawyers came up with excuses, his father courageously defended a black man charged with raping a white woman. Now a lawyer himself, Beck reconstructs his father's role in State of Alabama vs. Charles White, Alias, a trial that was much publicized when Harper Lee was twelve years old. On the day of Foster Beck's client's arrest, the leading local newspaper reported, under a page-one headline, that "a wandering negro fortune teller giving the name Charles White" had "volunteered a detailed confession of the attack" of a local white girl. However, Foster Beck concluded that the confession was coerced. The same article claimed that "the negro accomplished his dastardly purpose," but as in To Kill a Mockingbird, there was evidence at the trial to the contrary. Throughout the proceedings, the defendant had to be escorted from the courthouse to a distant prison "for safekeeping," and the courthouse itself was surrounded by a detachment of sixteen Alabama highway patrolmen. The saga captivated the community with its dramatic testimonies and emotional outcome. It would take an immense toll on those involved, including Foster Beck, who worried that his reputation had cast a shadow over his lively, intelligent, and supportive fiance, Bertha, who had her own social battles to fight. This riveting memoir, steeped in time and place, seeks to understand how race relations, class, and the memory of southern defeat in the Civil War produced such a haunting distortion of justice, and how it may figure into our literary imagination.
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Description:

The story of Foster Beck, the author's late father, whose defense of a black man accused of rape in 1930s Alabama foreshadowed the trial at the heart of To Kill a Mockingbird. As a child, Joseph Beck heard the stories-when other lawyers came up with excuses, his father courageously defended a black man charged with raping a white woman. Now a lawyer himself, Beck reconstructs his father's role in State of Alabama vs. Charles White, Alias, a trial that was much publicized when Harper Lee was twelve years old. On the day of Foster Beck's client's arrest, the leading local newspaper reported, under a page-one headline, that "a wandering negro fortune teller giving the name Charles White" had "volunteered a detailed confession of the attack" of a local white girl. However, Foster Beck concluded that the confession was coerced. The same article claimed that "the negro accomplished his dastardly purpose," but as in To Kill a Mockingbird, there was evidence at the trial to the contrary. Throughout the proceedings, the defendant had to be escorted from the courthouse to a distant prison "for safekeeping," and the courthouse itself was surrounded by a detachment of sixteen Alabama highway patrolmen. The saga captivated the community with its dramatic testimonies and emotional outcome. It would take an immense toll on those involved, including Foster Beck, who worried that his reputation had cast a shadow over his lively, intelligent, and supportive fiance, Bertha, who had her own social battles to fight. This riveting memoir, steeped in time and place, seeks to understand how race relations, class, and the memory of southern defeat in the Civil War produced such a haunting distortion of justice, and how it may figure into our literary imagination.

Language:

English

Narrators:

Tom Stechschulte

Length:

6h 20m


Chapters

Chapter 1
Chapter 1

04:33


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

08:04


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

08:51


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

05:28


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

10:23


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

06:06


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

06:41


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

12:06


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

12:06


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

12:29


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

11:54


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

04:27


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

07:57


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

05:41


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

08:34


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

18:06


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

10:47


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

07:13


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

12:24


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

11:26


Chapter 21
Chapter 21

09:27


Chapter 22
Chapter 22

11:21


Chapter 23
Chapter 23

11:49


Chapter 24
Chapter 24

05:39


Chapter 25
Chapter 25

08:29


Chapter 26
Chapter 26

16:39


Chapter 27
Chapter 27

07:59


Chapter 28
Chapter 28

13:09


Chapter 29
Chapter 29

10:24


Chapter 30
Chapter 30

14:25


Chapter 31
Chapter 31

11:35


Chapter 32
Chapter 32

09:43


Chapter 33
Chapter 33

11:59


Chapter 34
Chapter 34

10:45


Chapter 35
Chapter 35

10:33


Chapter 36
Chapter 36

08:02


Chapter 37
Chapter 37

09:13


Chapter 38
Chapter 38

12:53


Chapter 39
Chapter 39

00:41