“To Kill A Mockingbird” Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Half a century later, Atticus Finch remains a touchstone for what an American lawyer is supposed to be.

Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird was published 50 years ago today. Always on the shortlist in for any discussion of Greatest American Novel, the “timeless” classic is full to the brim of simple yet profound wisdom, my (current) favourite of which is:

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.

I watched the Gregory Peck movie again a few years ago when I went into private practice. Atticus Finch is, after all, a sort of touchstone for what an American lawyer is supposed to be. His is a difficult example to live up to, but I don’t think I can ever go too far wrong by trying.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.


  1. sam says:

    A charming story from the filming of the book that I heard Gregory Peck tell. He had just finished a scene and was coming off the set when he saw Harper Lee standing off to one side, with tears in her eyes. “Oh Harper,” he said, I am glad you’re here.” And seeing the tears, he said, “Why the tears, was there something wrong with the way we handled that?” “Oh no,” she said, “the scene was find, it just seeing you reminded me of my father. He had a nice little pot belly, too.”