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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin

Book Reviews Robert R. Kracke ALABAMA AUTHORS: BIOGRAPHY AND NOVELS My Father & Atticus Finch, a Lawyers Fight for Justice in 1930’s Alabama By Joseph Madison Beck W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd., NY, NY, 2016, 218 pp. Th is reviewer was presented with My Father & Atticus Finch by his sister-in-law, a Montgomery native, to whom the author inscribed a salutation, “For Malone, you look so young! Joseph M. Beck.” Th is reviewer is still not sure whether the book was passed to this reviewer out of vanity or content. It was concluded that it was a little bit of both. Th e content is a fascinating parallel of the true story of the author’s father Foster Beck, a then-Pike County lawyer, who actually handled a real life trial involving similar facts that Harper Lee presented as fi ction in To Kill a Mockingbird. Th e parallel doesn’t end there, though, it continues, and the author, Joseph Madison Beck, an Atlanta lawyer, wonders whether or not Harper Lee might have remembered the true story of State of Alabama v. Charles White, Alias, which took place when Harper Lee was 12 years old. We are talking about the 1930's in a suburb of Troy, Alabama, called Glenwood. Monroeville is not too far away. Th is book is complete with an appendix which contains photos of the author’s father, grandfather, the Pike County Courthouse, and a letter from Dr. George Washington Carver to Madison L. Beck on the letterhead of Tuskegee Normal, an Industrial Institute. Th e letter was sent by Dr. Carver in gratitude for an article that appeared in the Troy Messenger that described Dr. Carver fl atteringly. Th e case of State of Alabama v. Charles White, Alias was a well-publicized case involving allegations that a Negro had “raped” a white woman. Th e author’s father defended the Negro in Pike County, Alabama in the early 1930's. One of the more interesting aspects of the Pike County case as opposed to Harper Lee’s fi ctional story is that the “rape victim” was declared by a physician to have an intact hymen after the “rape.” Th e author of this book is a member of the law fi rm of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, LLP in Atlanta. Mr. Beck handles intellectual property, copyright, consumer product safety and internet law. Interestingly, it was recently noted on national television that the Martin Luther King Family copyrighted the “I Have A Dream” Continued on page 32 28 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin
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