There is not much known of Tom Robinson's background. He is one of the characters in the book that is a minor character, but has a huge impact on the whole story.
We do know that Tom Robinson is a black field hand. He does not have use of his left arm, which play into the trial in a big way. He lost use of his arm at the age of twelve when he got his arm caught in a cotton gin, so it appears that Tom has always worked in the fields. Since they live in the South, it would be safe to say that Tom's family were probably slaves at some point. He is known as a kind and gentle man. He will help anyone who needs help. It comes to light that he had helped Mayella on many occasions. She needed help around the house and he was there to help her. Knowing his kindness, it only makes things worse when he is accused of raping Mayella.
The thing that needs to be known, is that because he is a black man, there is no way he will get a fair trial. It is also important to talk about how Atticus will stop at nothing to prove the man's innocence. Atticus does prove that he is innocent, but because he is black, he will never get a fair trial. Tom was a kind man who was willing to help anyone. He was a family man. He was just a good guy. Atticus, Jem and Scout all learn just what a good and innocent man he truly was.