In honor of our 20th birthday, we'll be celebrating movies and their impact on individual people. If there is a movie that has changed or inspired you, let us know by emailing

I know 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is a movie many people claim has changed their life and that is great. But way before the sensationalism the movie created, long before it became a fixture on school reading lists, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' gave me -- a small girl living only a few miles from the set of the film, from the story and from the author -- the chance to open my eyes.

I grew up in a small community about an hour south of the Monroeville, Alabama area. My world was quiet, safe and small. Life involved climbing trees and adventures with my brothers. I thought this was the way it was meant to be, and never considered anything different.

Racism ran rapid, though in those days no one used the word 'racism.' (Whether or not it could even be found in a dictionary at the time is anyone's guess.) We all lived and acted as expected, because that was what we did. No questions asked. We mechanically moved in the same direction as our parents, shared their ideas and respected their values. Never once thinking there was any other way. And like a river, one rock collected in a stream, then another until the riverbed became rocky.
categories Features