Could you please give me a quote and describe how Harper Lee portrays the Black community in the novel?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lee provides a description of everyday life in the Black community in Chapter 25 when Atticus and Calpurnia visit Tom Robinson’s family. “A crowd of black children were playing marbles in Tom’s front yard,” and Tom's family has a fence around their house, for Atticus “opened the front gate.” He knows some of these kids well enough to call one of Tom’s by his first name, asking, “Where is your mother, Sam?”  A little girl answers the door, her hair “a wad of tiny stiff pigtails, each ending in a bright bow,” indicating the child is cared for and that her mother likes her to look pretty.  She is a happy child, and Atticus, gentleman that he is, takes off his hat to her. She is not afraid of Atticus, for she holds his finger as they begin go walk to find her mother, Tom’s wife, who was at a friend’s house, “Sis Steven’s,” the “Sis” an appellation of respect common in the Black community at that time that indicates the close sense of community the people shared with each other. When Helen receives the news about Tom’s death, she “fell in the dirt,” indicating how shocked she is and how much she loves her husband. Atticus picks her up and carries her insider her home. There does not seem to be a sidewalk, suggesting the poverty of the area. In all of this description we have a sense that “folks are just folks” as Jem had said earlier. This is a family like any other family, except now it lacks a father.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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