Coming of Age in Mississippi- Anne Moody

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Anne Moody learned about the importance of race early in her life. Having been born and raised in an impoverished black family from the South, she experienced first-hand the disparity in the lives of Whites and Blacks.

The story begins with Anne as a four-year-old child watching her parents work everyday for Mr. Carter, a white plantation owner. She witnessed several black farmers living in rotten, two-room wooden shacks. It was most likely evident to her, even at that early age, that Whites were the affluent, upper-class.

She elucidates her recognition of the difference in living conditions in the following statements:

It seemed as though we were always moving. Every time it was a house on some white man's place and every time it was a room and a kitchen (p.28).

Moody's mother worked for a white family. She earned very little money and often brought home leftovers to feed the family. Moody reemphasizes the difference in her way of life and that of the "white folks" in the following lines:

That was when I discovered white folks ate different from us. They had all kinds of different food with meat and all. We always just had beans and bread (29).

In the sentences to follow, Moody continues to paint the picture of race and its relationship to resource distribution in society. She discusses a Saturday visit to her mother's place of employment with her siblings. She and her brothers and sisters sat on the back porch waiting for the white family to finish eating so they could feed on their scraps. Moody describes the atmosphere saying:

It was the first time I had seen the inside of a white family's kitchen. That kitchen was pretty, all white and shiny. Mama had cooked that food we were eating too. (29).

The first time Anne Moody is directly confronted with the issue of difference in skin color within the black race was during a visit to her grandmother's home where she met two "white-looking" boys who turned out to be her blood...
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