Back from an extended blogging hiatus, Bronx high school teacher Mr. Babylon shares the experience of showing his inner-city students the classic film To Kill a Mockingbird.
I’ve mentioned before that I am not one to break down in tears at the workplace, or anywhere else for that matter. I have also mentioned that my one weakness in this department is books, and sporting events (especially if they trot out some badass old-timer for a rousing ovation,) and movies.
Well, it happened. I knew it was coming, the end of that damn trial scene, and I was holding it together pretty well. The verdict came down. The courtroom crowd gasped. The judge stormed out. Terrified, Tom Robinson, was led out the door. Everyone in the downstairs of the courtroom audience left. Slowly, oh so slowly, Atticus gathered up his things, said a word to the court reporter, and began to make his exit. Scout, Jem, Dill and all the black folks in the balcony were still there. They rose to their feet.
It started to get a little dusty down there in the basement of S---ty High, but still I was maintaining most of my composure.
The big one hit, “Stand up, Jean Louise, your father’s passing.”
Boom. What a line. What a scene. I swallowed big, and my vision was getting pretty cloudy, but still I maintained.
Then out of nowhere came a second bomb. Somewhere behind me a perfect little female voice called out in a hushed tone, “they showin’ they respect, right, Mista?”
That did it.
(From Mr. Babylon.)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.