Tom Robinson shows courage on the witness stand. He tells about the events that happened with Mayella Ewell, even though he is under immense scrutiny by the jury and court observers. His hesitation shows how he needs to summon up the courage to speak in defense of himself. He frequently swallows before speaking, which also shows his hesitation.
He tells of many instances when he had helped Mayella with small chores and tasks around the broken down Ewell house. Mr. Gilmer presses Tom for more information. He asks Tom why he would be so willing to help Mayella without getting paid. Tom explains that he was trying to help. Mr. Gilmer asks for more and Tom replies:
"Yes, suh. I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more'n the rest of--" (To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 21)
Mr. Gilmer is quick to interrupt. It is unheard of in Maycomb for a black man to pity a white woman. Tom Robinson speaks with honesty. He does not leave out parts of the truth to make himself look better. This takes courage on his part.