Evaluate which of the two--Calpurnia or Lula--is more loyal to the Black Cause in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Although Lula is the lone racist African American portrayed in To Kill a Mockingbird, it could certainly be argued that her sentiments are an early example of the Black Power movement that would exist in just a few short decades. Lula is probably more loyal to "the black cause" than Calpurnia as well as the rest of the congregation of the First Purchase Church. Author Harper Lee doesn't reveal much about Lula--if and where she works or if she is married. We know that she doesn't appreciate Calpurnia bringing "white chillun to nigger church," and she obstinately tries to prevent the children from entering. But Calpurnia stands her ground, and her loyal friends side with her, and soon,

... Lula was gone. In her place was a solid mass of colored people.

Maycomb had few black citizens willing to take a stand such as Lula, who knew as well as the rest of the congregation how any of them would be received if they attempted to attend a whites-only church. Most of them had lived with the Jim Crow laws and forced segregation that existed not only in Maycomb but throughout the South. They understood their place at the bottom of society's ladder, and they knew that trying to break out of this mold would result in a situation much like Tom Robinson faced on the night when the lynch mob tried to take him from the jail.

Lula may have stood alone, and she may have had few friends or supporters in the community, but she certainly took a different kind of pride in her color than Calpurnia. Calpurnia can be faulted for working for a white family (as many other Negroes did), but the Finches considered her a loving member of the family. Calpurnia had also worked for Atticus's father, and by all rights, she was treated magnanimously by Atticus, who was willing to take a stand against his own sister when Alexandra tried to insist upon Cal being fired. Few of the other African Americans were treated as well as Cal by the other white employers (though Link Deas seemed to genuinely respect Tom and his wife, Helen), and hers was a special relationship with Atticus and his family. But Lula seems to be a solitary crusader among Maycomb's black folks, and she would have been proud of the future African Americans who helped their people gain the equal rights they deserved.


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