Good Behavior / Bad Behavior:

One reason its many admirers have praised To Kill a Mockingbird is for its depiction of the struggle of good to overcome evil. That victory never happens, of course. We might rather say that Harper Lee shows us the pyrrhic (fruitless or sacrificial) victory of evil over good. But there is no question that To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel of conscience—it raises as a question the past we take as settled and the traditions we take as fixed.

It seems fitting, then, that it would prompt us to examine our own past during the tumult of the civil rights period. IU senior Lauren Haynes has assembled three slide shows documenting three charged moments in this history. In light of this year’s Themester theme, Good Behavior, Bad Behavior: Molecules to Morality, we are bound to consider the kind of precedent that they set.

 

1. The Black Market Arson

In the Fall of 1968, IU’s African-American students and faculty opened the Black Market on Kirkwood Avenue, a community center and hub for students underserved elsewhere. Early in the morning on December 26, 1968, two members of the Ku Klux Klan, Carlisle Briscoe and Jackie Kinser, firebombed the Black Market. After the attack, racial tensions rose and a large group of African American students gathered outside the rubble to protest the racism of the campus and community. Rollo Turner, a student activist, delivered a speech in which he staid that peace between the races was dead. Many members of the community and the University spoke out against this perceived call for reprisal, for fear of further violence and unrest.