What are some passages showing that Atticus believes in racial equality in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, the best moments in which Atticus shows he believes that all races should be treated equally are when he speaks of Calpurnia, especially when he is defending his treatment of Calpurnia to his sister, Alexandra.

One example can be seen in Chapter 14, when Aunt Alexandra expresses her displeasure at Calpurnia having taken the children to her all-black church and at Scout having asked permission to visit Calpurnia in her home. Aunt Alexandra and Atticus get into a quarrel because Alexandra, being racist, feels Calpurnia is a bad influence on the children. She also feels Calpurnia is no longer needed in the household now that she has come to stay herself and begs Atticus to let Calpurnia go. Atticus's response shows he sees Calpurnia as an equal human being, worthy of being respected:

Alexandra, Calpurnia's not leaving this house until she wants to. You may think otherwise, but I couldn't have got along without her all these years. She's a faithful member of this family and you'll simply have to accept things the way they are. (Ch. 14)

The fact that Atticus thinks of Calpurnia as part of his family, not just a servant, shows that he sees her as an equal human being.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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