Remembering Harper Lee's Impact, U.S. Attorney Declines to Investigate Hubbard Case

Feb 22, 2016

Statue of girl reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" in Monroeville, Ala.
Credit G.M. Andrews / Getty

The town of Monroeville said goodbye to writer Harper Lee over the weekend. APR’s Pat Duggins reports the author of “To Kill A Mockingbird” was laid to rest in the hometown she made famous.

Actress Catherine Keener’s portrayal of Harper Lee in the Oscar-winning film Capote is the closest most of the world ever got to knowing the reclusive writer of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” A dozen or so close friends and family members attended her funeral on Saturday with police officers outside the church to keep onlookers away.

Fellow Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg says Lee’s classic had a huge impact on him.

“And I think a whole lot of us who say we write books for living could say that. That we learned from it.”

Lee set “To Kill A Mockingbird” in the fictional town of Maycomb. It was based on her hometown of Monroeville, where residents knew her as Nell.

A federal prosecutor in Montgomery says any claims of prosecutorial misconduct in the ethics case against House Speaker Mike Hubbard should play out in state court.

U.S. Attorney George Beck responded to a letter in a news conference Friday from state legislators seeking a federal probe of the Hubbard prosecution.

Beck says the case is not a "federal issue." He added that state legislators have their own power to investigate.

More than three dozen state legislators sent a letter Thursday to Beck and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch seeking the probe. The request came after a campaign consultant said he had conversations with a prosecutor and tried to damage Hubbard politically with information.

Beck says he will seek guidance if any federal elections laws were at stake, but that doesn't mean he'll start an investigation.

The Nevada and South Carolina primaries are over. That means Alabama’s vote during Super Tuesday on March 1 is now in the spotlight.

That prompted the finance website WalletHub to do a study on how much Alabama’s voters resemble voters around the nation. The report looks at things like education and the local economy to see where Alabama matched up with other states.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez says Alabama did not look too well because of a few problem areas.

“Alabama did not rank too well in accordance to being most resembling of the U.S. as a whole. So, a couple areas that really had it brought down were religion and public opinion. The areas where it matched up a little more closely with the U.S. were the sociodemographics, economy and education levels.”

Illinois, Florida and Michigan rounded out the top three spots in matching most of the nation. West Virginia, Mississippi, and Vermont were at the bottom.

Montgomery native and artist Bill Ford, Jr. unveiled a new civil rights memorial in Montgomery last week.

The mural commemorates the anniversaries of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It’s printed onto four metal frames. The first shows Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. standing outside the Cleveland Avenue bus with a quote from the civil rights leader. The second panel commemorates the 60th anniversary of the bus boycott, and the third honors the 50th anniversary of the Selma march.

The last panel depicts the Edmund Pettus Bridge behind President Barack Obama at a podium, with the President and his family marching at the bottom of the frame. The mural is on the front of the Rufus A. Lewis Library on Mobile Highway in Montgomery.