Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird author buried in Alabama


The relatively small guest list included nephews and other relatives of the publicity-shy author, as well as friends from her hometown and places afar like New York City, where she had once lived and had written her celebrated book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Lee, who died Friday at age 89, drew inspiration from her hometown for the fictionalized Maycomb, the setting in her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "To Kill a Mockingbird".

A few dozen family members gathered Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Monroeville, Alabama to hear a eulogy by her longtime friend and history professor, Wayne Flint.

It was a 2006 speech, entitled, 'Atticus inside ourselves, ' that he gave as a tribute when Lee won the Birmingham Pledge Foundation Award for racial justice.

At 2:57 is a brief, indistinct recording of Lee's voice as she delivers a simple acceptance speech: "I had a speech prepared, but my heart is too full to make it. All I can say is thank you, all of you, for one of the greatest days of my life".

Twitter users also sent Ms. Lee off with their love and prayers through a bevvy of tweets. The present isn't comfortable any more, and Atticus's beloved line - "Gentlemen if there's one slogan in this world I believe, it is this: equal rights for all, special privileges for none" - a thing of the past.

The movie version of "To Kill a Mockingbird also became an American classic". Did Atticus, based closely on Lee's father, really change or was he simply a patrician more comfortable with the old rules, when all the powers belong to whites?

It only solidifies Nelle Harper Lee as one of the great storytellers of our time.

"She wanted to be buried before anyone knew she was dead, and we're getting as close to it as possible", said George Landegger, an industrialist and philanthropist, who attended the service. Bush said during a statement that he and his wife, Laura Bush, a former librarian, mourned Lee.

According to the publishing house HarperCollins, Lee passed away "peacefully" on February 19.

Harper Lee was a different story, recalled the Rev. Thomas Butts, who was pastor from 1993 to 1998.

Flynt and Randall said they had recently visited Lee at the Monroeville assisted living facility where she had lived for several years because of declining health.

James McBride, victor of the National Book Award in 2013 for the novel "Good Lord Bird" and author of the upcoming nonfiction "Kill 'em and Leave" about James Brown, said reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" as a child made him want to become a writer and that it "crystallized" for him an awareness of racism that had been "floating around him". "But I would like her to say, 'I'm Scout'".