Coming of Age In Mississippi and The Civil Rights Movement
Anne Moody's Coming of Age in Mississippi is a powerful personal story of one woman's struggle towards equality within the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s. Facing the double discrimination of being both black and a woman in the segregated South, Moody's strength of character and determination in the face of overwhelming obstacles, including the very real threat of death, defines the word courage. Anne Moody's eyewitness accounts of the following realities of the 1960's African American experience give the reader insight in to the following:
- Racial injustice
- The Civil Rights Movement and its leaders
These elements are key towards understanding how much African-Americans were willing to sacrifice in order to be treated as equal.
Coming of Age in Mississippi
As a child, Anne Moody had little, if any, comprehension of the differences between black and white. Her earliest memories are from the time her parents worked as sharecroppers on Mr. Carter's plantation, and while such memories continued to haunt her, it would seem that it was more of the grinding poverty and hardscrabble life than the sense that the Carters, although mean people, were directly responsible for her lot in life.
It is not until she moves to town with her mother that she develops an understanding of segregation. As a child, she played with the other children in her neighborhood, both white and black. When she tries to sit with them at the segregated movie theater, she learns a hard and valuable lesson. "Now all of the sudden [the other children] were white, and their whiteness made them better than me. I now realized that not only were they better than me because they were white, but everything they owned and everything connected with them was better than what was available to me" (38).