Atticus is not only a respected lawyer, but he is also a popular state representative who is continually re-elected without opposition. His defiant stance against Macomb's racial prejudice positively influences the African American community by giving them a sense of hope for future equality and change. Having such a prominent member of Maycomb's community support an African American man and openly challenge centuries-old racist ideologies provides the African American community with optimism and pride. As an oppressed part of society, they sympathize with Atticus' difficult situation. They understand that Atticus is putting himself and his family in danger by defending Tom Robinson. By having the relentless support of a respected white man, the African American community is making steps towards desegregation and equality. Also, Atticus is unashamed to let his children attend First Purchase African M.E., which helps bridge the gap between the white and black communities. Atticus not only takes it upon himself to stand up for African Americans' rights, but encourages his children, and future generations, to practice tolerance towards people of a different race. A future tolerant society will greatly benefit the currently oppressed African American community.