Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody: Racism in the Mid-20th Century

Topics: Black people, African American, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 3 (1138 words) Published: October 1, 2013
APRIL 29, 2013


Coming Of Age In Mississippi by Anne Moody gives a detailed and vivid look into racism in Mississippi in the mid 20th century. The book centers around Anne Moody (formerly Essie May) growing up in Centreville, Mississippi. From the beginning Moody makes it clear that her upbringing was not a pleasant one, yet she strives to escape the oppression that surrounded her. As a child, she is mostly naive to the racism in her community, yet as she becomes a teenager, it becomes all too apparent. Violence became more common, even with African American’s doing everything they could to remain hidden. Moody, however, chose not to hide, and later became a great activist., overcoming many hardships that others would have ran from.

Moody grew up in southern Mississippi, and her family was very poor. She spent her early childhood living in a shack where her parents worked for a white couple. This was the start to Moody’s hapless upbringing. In Moody’s town, relationships between African Americans and white people were largely frowned upon, and though it is not directly stated, many were ‘punished’ if they developed a close bond. Most children were not allowed to play together, even though the children often were not aware of any differences. Moody says she even ‘checked’ her white friends’ privates to see what all of the fuss was about, but found no difference among them and herself. While some black men were known to rape or sleep with black women, the children that came as a result were most often abandoned, and it was very rare for a mixed child to be claimed by it’s father. Moody recalls her mother taking her and her siblings to the movies, where blacks sat in the balconies and whites sat below. The children see their white friends, Katie and bill, and run to play with them. Moody states ‘All the way back to our house, mama kept telling us that we couldn’t sit downstairs, we...
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