Though absent, she certainly received quite the warm welcome when Notre Dame's entire graduating class, with a copy of her book in hand, cheered her name as they announced she was receiving an honorary degree. Then, just a year later, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award.
Now at the age of 84, Lee still lives in Monroeville, Alabama, the town where she grew up in and the location upon which "To Kill a Mockingbird's" Maycomb was based. As described in the first chapter, "it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather, the streets turned to red slop. Grass grew on the sidewalks. The courthouse sagged in the square."
To celebrate its half-century anniversary, members of the community gathered to read the book in that same courthouse.
"Everybody is very proud of it," said Jeanette Ageeadans, a local resident. "I feel like I wrote it."
Some believe Lee's message of acceptance still rings true.
"People think this is over. This is not over," said a resident. "It still has this galvanizing effect on a young reader. It remains as relevant today as it was the very day that it was written. It never ages."
To learn more about film and television writer/producer Mary Murphy's new book, "Scout, Atticus & Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,'" and documentary, "Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & 'To Kill a Mockingbird,'" click HERE.