MONROEVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Last night, as a tribute to the woman they called “Nelle”, a group of family and friends of Harper Lee gathered at a Monroeville restaurant to reminisce. Harper Lee died Friday morning, and was laid to rest in a private ceremony Saturday.
Among the crowd of loved ones, was Lee’s best friend. “A woman by the name of Joy Brown who’s 88 year old and she was the person who financed one year of Nelle’s life so that she could write,” says George Landegger, a close friend of Harper Lee. George says Joy learned early what we all know to be true now, Lee’s words are powerful.
Friends and family say the famed author’s legacy is unquestionable. “Her novel, over time, ceased to be a novel about race in America and became a novel about tolerance from people different from ourselves,” says Wayne Flynt, another close friend.
“Her writing transcends generations.” says Flynt. “When I was talking to a group of English honors students at Auburn High School and I asked what the novel is about, a boy raised his hand and said it’s about being Mormon in Auburn, Alabama because I’m the other, I’m the Boo Radley. I’m the outsider.”
While her syntax is strong and her characters are lovable, George says it’s the message behind the story that is most powerful. “It did for Southern Whites what Harriet Beacher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” did for Northern Whites, 100 years later,” says Landegger.
It only solidifies Nelle Harper Lee as one of the great storytellers of our time.