How does Lula react when she sees Scout and Jem arrive at the First Purchase Church with Calpurnia in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Lula believes white children do not belong in a black church.

Lula is not happy to see Scout and Jem with Calpurnia at First Purchase because it is an African-American church and she doesn’t think white children should be there. When Calpurnia tries to tell Lula that Scout and Jem...

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Lula believes white children do not belong in a black church.

Lula is not happy to see Scout and Jem with Calpurnia at First Purchase because it is an African-American church and she doesn’t think white children should be there. When Calpurnia tries to tell Lula that Scout and Jem are her company, Lula objects, saying Calpurnia is not company at the Finch house during the week. 

Lula stopped, but she said, “You ain’t got no business bringin‘ white chillun here—they got their church, we got our’n. It is our church, ain’t it, Miss Cal?”

 Calpurnia said, “It’s the same God, ain’t it?” (Chapter 12

Scout and Jem become uncomfortable during this altercation and want to go home. Calpurnia refuses to be intimidated. Scout is surprised to hear her speaking like the other African Americans because she is used to hearing her use the language and grammar the town's white people use. She doesn’t realize most African Americans do not have access to education, so speaking like a white person would make Calpurnia an outsider when she is at church. 

Calpurnia’s son Zeebo gives Scout and Jem a warm welcome and tells them not to pay any attention to Lula.  

One of them stepped from the crowd. It was Zeebo, the garbage collector. “Mister Jem,” he said, “we’re mighty glad to have you all here. Don’t pay no ‘tention to Lula, she’s contentious because Reverend Sykes threatened to church her. She’s a troublemaker from way back, got fancy ideas an’ haughty ways—we’re mighty glad to have you all” (Chapter 12).

Although Zeebo welcomes the children, he is also extra polite and respectful. He treats Jem and Scout this way because they are white. Although Jem is younger than Zeebo, Zeebo calls him "Mister Jem." He is essentially proving Lula's point, even if he doesn't mean anything by it.

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As soon as Calpurnia and the Finch children enter First Purchase African M.E. Church, one of the members, Lula, stops Calpurnia and contemptuously asks why she is bringing "white chillun to nigger church." When Cal responds by telling Lula that Jem and Scout are her guests, Lula reminds her that she is just a guest in the Finch household during the week. She then refuses to allow Cal and the children to take their seats and tells Cal,

You ain’t got no business bringin‘ white chillun here—they got their church, we got our’n. It is our church, ain’t it, Miss Cal? (Lee, 120).

After Lula expresses her concerns and makes the children feel uncomfortable, she walks away as the rest of the congregation welcomes Jem and Scout with open arms.

Lula's reaction reveals her anger towards white people and resentment for being treated as a second-class citizen in a segregated society. Lula knows what it is like to be a victim of racial discrimination in the Jim Crow South and is clearly bitter about living in a racist society. Lula shows no sympathy for Jem and Scout and criticizes Cal for bringing them to their black church. At First Purchase, Lula feels powerful and is able to express her negative views about white people by opposing Jem and Scout's presence. One of the only places that black citizens can assemble on their own is in a church, which is why Lula becomes infuriated when she sees white children trespassing on her black community's territory.

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Lula and Calpurnia have a showdown when Jem and Scout enter the church. Lula is livid that Calpurnia would bring white children into a black church. She outrightly questions Calpurnia. Calpurnia retorts by saying that the children have a right to be there. More to the point, they worship the same God. Calpurnia does not back down an inch. 

Here is a quote that shows the confrontation:

I felt Calpurnia’s hand dig into my shoulder. “What you want, Lula?” she asked, in tones I had never heard her use. She spoke quietly, contemptuously. 

I wants to know why you bringin‘ white chillun to nigger church."

"They’s my comp’ny," said Calpurnia. Again I thought her voice strange: she was talking like the rest of them. 

"Yeah, an‘ I reckon you’s comp’ny at the Finch house durin’ the week."

A murmur ran through the crowd. “Don’t you fret,” Calpurnia whispered to me, but the roses on her hat trembled indignantly.

In terms of why Lula reacts this way, there are at least two reasons. First, the black community knows what is happening with Tom Robinson. He is being unjustly accused of raping and beating a white woman. Therefore, the blacks see the racism and hate.

Second, even without Tom Robinson's predicament, the blacks feel resentment over years of mistreatment and racism. Furthermore, one of the few places they have of their own is church. Therefore, to bring white people into it is to transgress their sacred space. Anger is the outcome. 

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