July 11, 1960. To Kill a Mockingbird is first published. The author Harper Lee hailed from the racially intolerant southern town of Monroeville, Alabama. Growing up she saw many cases of social injustice, and while studying law at the local university she began to write articles on the subject. On moving to New York she wrote short stories about the people of Monroeville, and presented the work to a publisher. He advised her to quit her job and work full time on a novel. She took his advice and spent the next two and a half years concentrating on writing. The resulting book won the Pulitzer prize, was turned into a film staring Gregory Peck in 1962, and stands to this day as a symbol for the civil rights movement.
Also on July 11: French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons discovers the first comet (1801); Charles Dickens’ “a Tale of Two Cities” first published (1859); Babe Ruth makes his debut in major league baseball (1914); The Hollywood Bowl opens (1922)
Born on July 11: Robert the Bruce (1274), Giorgio Armani (1934), Richie Sambora (1959), Caroline Wozniacki (1990).