Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody is an autobiographic writing created with the purpose to show what it is to be an African American woman. This narration illustrates all her life beginning with early childhood and finishing with her involvement in the struggle for civil rights. The publication describes the following periods: early childhood, school years, further education and the struggle. Every of these periods shows the progress of her “coming of age” with every step and its lessons influencing her personal knowledge.
Anne Moody shows how significant the struggle for rights was by describing the financial, communal, and race unfairness in relations to African Americans she went through and the negative experience that was filling her heart with negative emoting for many years so at the end of the writing she appears to be angry and completely disappointed.
The author’s life and the conclusions made by her
The author’s childhood brought no good experiences; Anne grew in the family of plain sharecroppers working for white people and finally her dad left them for another woman. She studied in the isolated schools and had to begin working every early to help her relatives. Her mother got married for the second time and young suffered from sexual humiliation by mother’s husband so she had to leave her home being still very young.
There were numerous actions of aggression Anne Moody went through in her childhood These occasions make her understand that the relations between races were really inadmissible. For instance, white people destroyed the house of African Americans and murdered the people who were inside of it. The author’s recollections:
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 (Moody, 1968).
Being still a child Anne made her personal conclusions about the racial difficulties and aggression she has been suffered from when a young African American man was murdered for paying attention to a white woman in the street. Before the author had an impression that some “Evil Spirits” was guilty of the secret killings of black people:
Up until his death, I had heard of Negroes found floating in a river or dead somewhere with their bodies riddled with bullets . . . When I asked her (Mama) who killed the man and why, she said, ‘An Evil Spirit killed him. You gotta be a good girl or will kill you too.’ So since I was seven, I had lived in fear of that ‘Evil Spirit (Moody, 1968).
After this case the author grew very distressed and afraid of “being killed just because I was black. This was the worst of my fears.” (Moody, 1968). Anne finally found out about the NAACP and its activity. She learned that this association is endeavoring to help advance the position of all black people like her. Unluckily, when she endeavored to inquire her mum about this she could not get any explanations. On the contrary, her mum gets distressed and inquires her not to ever pronounce the name of the organization near white people. The thing that made Anne even more upset is that the reality has been concealed from her for too long time.
The author’s convictions and plans
Anne’s personality formation and life was substantially developed by the environment she was brought up in and the constant interracial communication difficulties and aggression she saw. The author had no an affirmative, powerful base in her family, her relations with mother were unhealthy. Her mother had to work hard to bring up the children. In spite of all these difficulties Anne studied well and had a great desire of finding a better life. She was looking for the change and was eager to change something. She had no support from her mother in these desires; however Moody was so motivated that nobody could influence her. Anne wanted to be stronger than her relatives and not to become scared of the things they were scared of. She denied to let worry consume at her and impose in her the flaw that poisoned her family. Being still very young she was a observer of too much aggression and agony and knew pretty well the feeling of she could seem the despair that numerous black people felt every day. She had certain convictions about making alternatives without coercion and helping other black people do that.
At the end of Anne Moody’s, it is understandable that her experience profoundly influenced her. She became exhausted and discouraged of struggling for rights:
I sat there listening to We Shall Overcome,’ looking out of the window and the passing Mississippi landscape. Images of all that had happened kept crossing my mind: The Taplin burning, the Birmingham church bombing, Medgar Evers’ murder, the blood gushing out of McKinley’s head, and all the other murders (Moody, 1968).
Finally having got disappointed and listening to the words of We Shall Overcome, Anne Moody asked herself how factual these words actually were. The following words grabbed her mind: “I wonder. I really WONDER.”
Moody, Anne (1968), Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York: Dial Press.