Who is Rev Sykes?
Reverend Sykes was the leader of the black congregation in Macomb, Alabama. During the trial of Tom Robinson, blacks were allowed to observe, but only from the balcony. Atticus Finch's children, Jem and Scout, were forbidden by their father from attending trials. Nevertheless, Jem led Scout and their friend Dill (based on the true life Truman Capote) to town to see the trial. The main floor was so crowded the children couldn't get in. Up in the balcony, Reverend Sykes cleared space for the three children in the front row. They watched the trial, with Jem claiming Scout could not understand the details of the rape trial. Scout demurred. Despite a valiant and thoroughly unappreciated effort (by his most of his white peers), the jury came back with a verdict of guilty; Jem hung his head. The white crowd on the ground floor slowly cleared out until only Atticus Finch was left, first bucking up Tom for the appeal, then checking with the court reporter to make sure the transcript would be ready for appeal. At last, he put his papers in his briefcase and walked down the main aisle toward the exit. Unbeknownst to him, the entire black audience in the balcony had remained. As he passed beneath them, they all silently rose in tribute. Scout had fallen asleep, leading to one of the greatest lines in all cinema, as Reverend Sykes whispers to her, "Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing."