“Our Mockingbird” Video Review By: Maria Pace

The video documentary, Our Mockingbird, highlighted and exposed the struggles of the 1960s south, the book To Kill a Mockingbird, and how those same type of struggles still exist in our lives today. The video begins with the lives of teenagers that attend two different high schools, one all white, and one all black. The two schools have one goal: put on a performance that showcases the book, To Kill a Mockingbird. The video proceeds to follow the journey of these students throughout the video, and it vividly and realistically describes the racial tensions they were able to overcome. The video also talks about a main theme in To Kill a Mockingbird, which was racial tensions in the south. The film touches on various marches, and events in history that impact our lives today due to their historical significance. For example, when four black children were killed after the march of Washington by being blow up in 16th Street Baptist church, it shook Alabama, the United States and the world. People’s hearts ached with the thought of how someone could simply kill children in a church and then walk away like it’s no big deal. But obviously, it is a big deal. People were being shot in the streets because they merely wanted to protest their basic rights as American citizens. This was a racial church killing. The rights of black Americans were exercised when children would march in the street, when Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, when schools fought to end segregation, when black men were accused of the rape of white women like Tom Robinson. It was a battle, and through the lives of the high school students in Alabama, and the award-winning book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a story of racism in American history and our lives today is told through the film, Our Mockingbird.
What really brought, I, as the audience, into the film, was the fact that this documentary was not only about racism in our past, but also how it affects us today. Our Mockingbird, not only showed how it affects our lives today, but it showed that effect on teenagers, people I can easily relate to. At the beginning, the teens felt weird and awkward. It felt like they were put into a whole other world. It was astonishing to me that black people and white people had really never had any type of socialization with each other since they lived in different parts of their town. As the video proceeded, the students really began to realize that not only was this such a crazy feeling, but they began to learn about what it really felt like back in the 1960s when racism was very much alive. Through the characters they played in their show and the interactions and bonding they had with each other, they learned how it felt to feel segregated and completely separated from what felt like a historical place. Students that live in different parts of any town can relate to the film, because the separateness exists everywhere, and if not the physical separation than the mental separation.
The other standout-theme, and cause of the whole documentary was how To Kill a Mockingbird, was used to describe society today. The book is referred to as a classic, e.i. a no matter when, a person will always find something in the book to relate to. For the teenagers in the documentary they related to the segregation and the racial injustice of the time the book is set in. But other than the lives of the Alabama teens, the documentary applied the book to real life. Real life being the civil rights movement. Through the book people are able to understand the total separateness that blacks and whites faced back in the civil rights movement. The film talks about important events in the civil rights movement such as the 16th Street Baptist church bombing, Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, the march of Selma. Also, not only does it talk about prominent and noteworthy events such as those, but the film goes into further detail about how black women were the main caretakers of white children during those times. Another topic that was discussed was how children and teenagers would march to stand up for what they believed in, because they did not want their schools to be segregated anymore. All of these events, struggles, injustices can be applied to, To Kill a Mockingbird, and to society today.
Through the lives of regular Southern teenagers, black and white, a story of racism and separation is told. The film describes the struggles that that black people had to face to get to where they are today, but it shows we still have a long way to go. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic story that is as applicable to society today as it was during the civil rights movement.

“Our Mockingbird” Review by Emma

“Our Mockingbird” is a play written by one black and one white man from a Birmingham Alabama high school. It is based off of To Kill a Mockingbird, and they mix two different schools. One of them is all black and the other is all white people. The video talks about how in the 50’s and 60’s how different it was being black from white and how blacks couldn’t even play checkers against white people, and a middle school black girl who won the spelling bee couldn’t go to nationals because of her race. Then white people talk about how back then they all had to be ladies and couldn’t even go to the store without gloves and the hat. They give good examples from their personal stories that relate to the real story, and compare them. They also get the actors point of view and how they feel while preforming the play, and how much they get into their character, feeling like they are really them.

The idea of the play was great, because all those students from both schools got to mix with each other and do something fun and educated. From hearing their perspectives on the story, I think they learned a lot about themselves and the people around them. The boy who played Tom Robinson said during the trial he felt like he was really Tom and the words Bob Ewell would say to him felt so real. I think all students should experience something like that because it puts you in someone else’s shoes and you know how they feel and it changes how you think about things.

I really liked this video, because it was interesting to hear everyone’s opinions on the book, and the movie. I got to hear good comparisons from real life stories to the book, which showed me how To Kill a Mockingbird was not the only case that has been caused because of race. Millions of people have been convicted of something they didn’t do, and didn’t even get a chance to be heard about their side of the story, because of the color of their skin. Not just big cases like rape, but all the little things like drinking out of the same water fountain, or being able to even be friends with a black person just because of race. The students said how they felt about it and I heard from both sides the black and the white and what they think about each character like Tom, or Atticus.

There’s a line closer to the end of the video where one of the directors of the play had the students sit down before they performed and said “Just think about all those Boo Radley’s and Tom Robinsons out there, because there everywhere.” That inspired me because I actually think now, that there are so many people out there who are not heard, and I want to be someone who can help make that change.

Review of “Our Mockingbird”by Tatiana

The production “Our  Mockingbird” was shown on PBS to show people how the production was made. Two different schools, one with mostly with white kids and the other with black both came together to perform a play called “To Kill A Mockingbird.” They were both were in theatre classes and were both combined into one. Each student was to be a character from the movie and it was based on who mostly would fit the roll and who looked the same as the character. Each student would have to spend more than normal time on the play they were going to do and many believed they would have a problem with that.

The point of the play were to bring both of these groups together to realize how people were back than were and that race was really important. As in many interview these students were very interested to be working on a play like this with the opposite color. (Black or white) They wanted to see what each other thoughts were about each other and what their perspectives were on the play. Sooner or later they saw that they both had the same opinions. Also both realized how important it was the preform this play and what it meant. This play wasn’t just for fun it was too show how life was and how color mattered. That life wasn’t fair and it took work to get for what was wanted and sometimes what was wanted never happened.

Each student learned more and more everyday about their character. They were inspired by them and with all the examples and interviews they saw helped get into character. Not just the acting was done but the research of others in that time was also done, saw how people were treated and the reactions each individual had. From that the actors used that information to help their character come to life and actually felt they were really in the town of Maycomb.

In conclusion, each student learned something different which also helped them in life. Either why this time period was so important or noticing how different people saw how this play was formed in different perspectives. The main focus was bring the play to life in these students lives and to show how inspiring “To Kill a Mocking Bird” is in our lives.