In To Kill a Mockingbird, why does a "mob" form around the children when they attend the First Purchase African M.E. church?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Calpurnia, Jem, and Scout first arrive at the First Purchase African M.E. Church, most of the men and women are polite and respectful. Only Lula makes it a point to ask why Calpurnia has brought white children to their church. After Calpurnia replies to Lula that they all believe in the same God, Scout has the feeling that they are being advanced upon, as if by a "mob." But she then quickly realizes that it is not a "mob" in the pejorative sense at all. She "sensed rather than saw": 

I sensed, rather than saw, that we were being advanced upon. They seemed to be drawing closer to us, but when I looked up at Calpurnia there was amusement in her eyes. 

Zeebo greets them and tells Jem to disregard Lula. The so-called "mob" was more like a curious group becoming a welcoming committee. Reverend Sykes greets the three of them and leads them to the front pew. The presence of white children is an odd occurrence for the black parishioners but the majority of the church-goers greet the children with open arms, perhaps even more so because their father, in defending Tom, represents a living example of righteousness and a leader in the pursuit of social equality. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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