How does Atticus quietly protest Jim Crow laws even before Tom Robinson's trial?

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poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus' first act of protest is accepting his appointment as Tom Robinson's lawyer. Atticus does this even though he knows that the legal battle he is about to engage in is ultimately useless; it is clear that the racist Southern town of Maycomb will condemn Tom before the trial even begins. Tom does not have a fighting chance of winning the trial, yet Atticus makes sure that he does have a chance to be heard in court, even if it will only serve as the first of many stepping stones in the path toward racial equality and justice.

Atticus' second act of protest is to stand guard outside the jail when a lynch mob comes to steal Tom from his cell. Atticus puts his very life and well-being on the line to stand up to the angry crowd and to protect Tom's life and his right to a fair trial. By standing up for the truth, Atticus fights a quiet but important fight.

kimfuji eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus is well known by the black people. They believe that he sees them as equal and that he will judge Robinson fairly. He has a reputation for being fair; his father was also a fair man. Atticus protests Jim Crow laws by reminding people that a man is not guilty until proven so in a court of law. The town people already want to declare Robinson's guilt even though they know no facts, only hearsay. Atticus refuses to believe until all the facts are in.

donew911172 | Student

Atticus Finch was a fair, upstanding citizen.  He always saw the good in people and did not discriminate against Blacks or the poor.  He always taught his children to love everybody and accept differences in people.  He understands racial injustices; his father was a lawyer and was also a fair main.  He learned these ways from his father.  Atticus was already respected and loved by the people of the town, and it didn't matter what race or economic status.  This is evident because the black people in the town were confident that he would do right by Tom Robinson. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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