During the time period in which Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, takes place, Alabama, like all of the Deep South, was highly segregated. Whites and blacks lived and socialized apart, and Tom Crow laws were still in affect. Women still did not have equal rights, so it is safe to say that Negroes and women did not have much say in what was fair and just. White men had the upper hand as far as decision-making and enacting laws, and due to the widespread racial discrimination that enveloped many men, Negroes rarely received equitable treatment. In the Tom Robinson trial, it was an all-white jury who decided Tom's fate, and Scout came to the realization that they had already made up their mind before the trial began.
... in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.
Though there were men like Atticus Finch, who treated black and white men and women equally, they were a rare breed in Maycomb.