What is the role of the church in Cal's community in "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee? 

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Located in the African American community known as the Quarters, First Purchase A.M.E. Church serves as the only place of worship for Maycomb's Negro population. It visibly represents the poverty of the local inhabitants: The church is unpainted inside and out, and there is no electricity. It serves as a spiritual gathering place for Calpurnia and her congregation, and Scout soon recognizes that, despite the lack of necessities found in her own white Methodist church--there are no hymnals or collection plates--the message preached by Reverend Sykes is not much different than at white churches.

     His sermon was a forthright denunciation of sin...
     Jem and I had heard the same sermon Sunday after Sunday... (Chapter 12

However, even in the Quarters, blacks could not escape completely from their white neighbors.

Negroes worshipped in it on Sundays and white men gambled in it on weekdays.  (Chapter 12)

The cemetery that adjoined the church was littered with broken glass, which Scout found colorful, but it  probably came from the drunken white gamblers who desecrated the property during the week.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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