Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody

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Anne Moody's Coming of Age in Mississippi is a narrated autobiography depicting what it was like to grow up in the South as a poor African American female. Her autobiography takes us through her life journey beginning with her at the age of four all the way through to her adult years and her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. The book is divided into four periods: Childhood, High School, College and The Movement. Each of these periods represents the process by which she "came of age" with each stage and its experiences having an effect on her enlightenment. She illustrates how important the Civil Rights Movement was by detailing the economic, social, and racial injustices against African Americans she experienced.

Moody's childhood lacked any positive influences; she was the child of poor sharecroppers who worked for a white farmer and her father deserted the family for another woman. She attended segregated schools and was forced to start working from the fourth grade on in order to help support her poor family. After her father left them, her mother moved them off the plantation and closer to Centreville, Mississippi in order to try and support the family. Her mother eventually married a man whose family did not get along with her and as a teenager Moody felt sexually harassed by her stepfather thus causing Moody to move out while she was still in high school.

There were many acts of violence that took place during Moody's childhood that helped prove to her that interracial relationships were unacceptable. For example, white people burned down the Taplin family home, killing everyone inside. Moody recalls being in shock and everyone in the car sitting still in dead silence, "We sat in the car for about an hour, silently looking at this debris and the ashes that covered the nine charcoal-burned bodies . . . I shall never forget the expressions on the faces of the Negroes. There was almost unanimous hopelessness in them." It wasn't...
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