Project Contract for Sophia Geron and Karina Schumm- To Kill a Mockingbird

The goal of our project is to research and explore the November-December 2016 case in Accomack County, Virginia where the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was challenged and removed from Nandua High School’s curriculum and library, and then was put back onto the shelves after a committee made a decision about the complaint. The targeted audience is anyone interested in censorship of children’s and young adult literature, other students from our COPLAC: A Burning Idea Course, our professors, and the community of Accomack County. As well as looking into this particular case, we are going to be exploring the history of the novel, the author, and reasons as to why the novel has been banned, such as it “making people uncomfortable” or is considered “immoral”.

The basic structure of our site is going to include pages on the case in Accomack County, Harper Lee’s Biography, History of Challenges to the novel (mainly Hanover County in 1969), and a Timeline pulling all our information together. On our landing page, we want to explain our project and have a timeline set up with important dates so users can look through the project as a whole. Our intention is to set it up so that users can click on important dates which takes them to the page with more corresponding information on it (ie. If they choose a link on the timeline about Harper Lee’s biography they will be taken to that page on the site). There will also be the options to go through the pages from a top menu bar and a search function, giving users multiple ways to access the information. On each page, we want to make subpages for each piece of that include things like specific information the original complaint, the protest, the community, the biography of the author, the historical context of the novel, and the outcome of challenge. As the site begins to come together over the next few weeks there is sure to be some changes in the structure, but all of these topics should be covered.

Because our case is fairly recent (and more cases keep popping up in the news, even in the last couple weeks) there will be people who might want to know the history of the challenges as a whole or people who want to look at out specific case. Our focus is going to be making it accessible in multiple ways for our users and tying multiple cases that are related to ours.

We are using the Sparkling Theme for our WordPress site because it is has more navigation options available for us to use than the theme we were originally going to use, the Landscape Theme. There are going to be at least three main pages on the header with three subpages and a sidebar with links to all of them. Our three main pages include Harper Lee, where we will have a biography of her life and the events that led up to her writing the novel; Historical Context, where the events that were going on when the book took place are going to be discussed; Accomack County, which will have all of the subpages. The subpages will include information regarding the complaint, the protest, the outcome, author’s biography, and criticism.  Each of these subpages are going to have each facet of the case front and center so that the case is easy for readers to understand. We are going to include the interviews that we get on the subpage that the person is most connected to. Our goal is to have multiple ways of accessing all the information compiled on our site. We are going to use Timeline JS to show how the proceedings of the Accomack County case and will also use StoryMaps in order to showcase all of the places where To Kill A Mockingbird has been challenged recently. We also are going to include audio recordings of the School Board Meeting where the parent complained and of the interviews we end up facilitating. WordPress offers a huge variety of plug-ins that we might decide are useful as we continue to build the site.

Digital Tools:

Timeline JS- We are using the timeline feature to create a timeline with all the steps that took place in the Accomack County case starting from the initial complaint to the most recent revision of the challenging process.

StoryMaps- We are using StoryMaps to showcase all of the places in the last five years that has challenged and/or banned To Kill A Mockingbird.

Editing Software- for audio editing we can use Audacity and if we need to video edit we can use iMovie. We want to at least include audio files as part of project.

Images- We are using creative commons to find some images and maybe Canva to make designs for our website. We are also looking at images from archives and digital libraries that are available for educational use.


Milestones: These are the bigger milestones we have and as the semester progresses little things will be added to the schedule.

  • February 23: Reached out to people involved in the protest and librarian, Mrs. Mitchell, and Nandua High School.
    • Contact student: Sayde Saunders Reached out on 2/23/18- Sophia
    • Contact protest guy: Charles Knitter Reached out on 2/23/18- Sophia
    • Contact protest speaker: Kentoya Downing-Garcia Reached out on 2/23.18- Sophia
  • March 2: Have research on Harper Lee and a draft page up and running. We want to have a typed-up draft post to include on the page with information on the author, the novel, and the historical context.
    • Historical context research: Karina,
    • Landing page formatting and revision: Sophia
    • Reached out the Accomack County School Board on 3/2/18: Sophia
  • March 9: Spring Break


  • Create interview Questions for Charles Knitter: Sophia Karina
  • Have the skeleton of the site finished: Sophia Karina


  • March 16: Have the Historical Context and Initial complaint page up and Harper Lee Page finalized, design and post and the Landing Page.


  • Historical Context page formatting and revision:  Karina,
  • Initial complaint research and page formatting: Sophia
  • Harper Lee page formatting and revision: Karina,
  • Harper Lee Research:  Sophia


    • March 23: Have the timeline complete and the protest page up.


  • Protest page formatting and revision: Karina
  • Timeline, Accomack County: Sophia,


  • March 30: Accomack page up and the map complete. Look into the history of the town and what the racial/political background.
    • Map: Karina,
    • Historical Context map page formatting and revision: Sophia
  • April 6: The Final Outcome page up.
    • Final outcome page formatting and revision: Karina and Sophia  
  • April 9: Initial Site is Ready
  • April 13: Revising
  • April 20: Revising Site
  • April 27: Revising Site
  • April 30: Final Revised Site