What are your impressions of African-American life after reading Chapter 12 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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Not unsurprisingly, life in Maycomb for African-Americans is a poor one that relegates them to a decided second-class status. Their church is unpainted and without an enclosed ceiling inside. There is no electricity, with kerosene lamps used for light. The church itself is used on weekdays for gambling by the white citizens of Maycomb (presumably First Purchase receives some sort of rent for this use). Most of the congregation is illiterate, making the need for hymnals (which they can't afford anyway) unnecessary. Money is scarce, and Reverend Sykes refuses to dismiss the congregation until an adequate amount is received in order to donate to Tom Robinson's family. The members of the congregation show deep respect for Scout and Jem, and though it may be entirely sincere, they also know that it is an act required of them in the Deep South of the 1930s. It is an altogether positive learning experience for Jem and Scout, and Scout is so impressed that she wants to learn more about Calpurnia and her family, asking to visit her home in the Quarters some day (a suggestion which Aunt Alexandra later staunchly opposes).