In chapter 11, the readers are introduced to Maycomb's most notorious racist, Mrs. Dubose. As Jem and Scout walk past her home, she yells,
"Your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for!" (Lee, 105)
Her derogatory comments infuriate Jem, who ends up destroying her camellia bush. After Atticus makes Jem read to Mrs. Dubose for two hours each day for over a month as an apology, she ends up passing away from a chronic illness. After Mrs. Dubose dies, Atticus explains to his children her difficult situation and tells Jem, "You know, she was a great lady" (115). Atticus elaborates on her valiant battle to break her morphine addiction and says,
"She was the bravest person I ever knew" (116)
Despite being an ugly, outspoken racist, Mrs. Dubose is also a courageous, forgiving woman, who earns Atticus's respect and demonstrates her compassion by giving Jem a white camellia.
In chapter 22, Miss Maudie bakes the children cakes and offers words of encouragement following the Tom Robinson trial. Jem is extremely upset and jaded towards the prejudiced community of Maycomb. Despite the overt prejudice throughout Maycomb, Miss Maudie explains to Jem that there were many people throughout the community who supported Tom Robinson. When Jem asks who helped Tom Robinson, Miss Maudie tells him,
"His colored friends for one thing, and people like us. People like Judge Taylor. People like Mr. Heck Tate. Stop eating and start thinking, Jem. Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? That Judge Taylor might have had his reasons for naming him?" (219)
Miss Maudie continues to elaborate on the positives surrounding the case by saying,
"It was no accident. I was sittin‘ there on the porch last night, waiting. I waited and waited to see you all come down the sidewalk, and as I waited I thought, Atticus Finch won’t win, he can’t win, but he’s the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And I thought to myself, well, we’re making a step—it’s just a babystep, but it’s a step." (220)
Despite the majority of racist citizens living in Maycomb, some of the community seems to be making steps in the right direction towards equality. Atticus's valiant defense of Tom Robinson and the support from a few sigificant members of the community signifies a positive change in race relations throughout Maycomb.