To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Summary of Chapter 16

Everybody from Maycomb heads downtown so that they Atticus suspiciously leaves that evening. The children decide to follow him. They find him in a chair outside of the jail reading a book. They continue to watch him when a group of men approach the courthouse. The group demands that Atticus let them get to Tom, but Atticus won't give in. Jem, Scout, and Dill burst into the scene, much to the shock of Atticus. Scout recognizes one of the men as Walter Cunningham and tries to strike up a conversation. Eventually this awkwardness breaks the group up and they leave. Tom calls out from his cell asking if the men have left. Atticus tells him everything is fine now. Mr. Underwood, editor of the local newspaper next door, calls out to them and says that he had his eye, and his gun, on the situation the whole time from his window above. Atticus takes the children home. Later in the afternoon, the children decide to head into town as well. The children see Dolphous Raymond, a white man sitting with all of the black citizens. Scout and Dill are confused as to why he would keep such company when it goes against most social rules. Jem explains that Mr. Raymond is gossiped about in town and prefers the company of the black community.

The court is uncharacteristically crowded and the children cannot find anywhere to sit. Reverend Sykes, the minister from Cal's church, takes them to where the black citizens are sitting and finds them seats. When they are all seated, Sheriff Heck Tate is the first to take the stand.