Coming of Age in Mississippi
Life in Mississippi in the 1950 s, especially being poor and black was extremely difficult. In the autobiography written by Anne Moody, Coming of age in Mississippi she talks about her difficult battles growing up being poor, black, and living in one of the raciest states in America. In the book she talks about way of living and how she grew up. Moody also explains how she got started in the Civil Rights movement and fought for Civil Rights towards blacks. Even so racism and violence grew up with her, moody finally moved out of the oppressive and racist environment. As fast as she got out she would later return to help others fight racism and oppressed cities to help other blacks fight for their own civil rights and to carry out civilized lives.
Living conditions in the South for black was grim to say the least. Anne grew up on a plantation and moved frequently while she was growing up. When her mother and father divorced Anne decided for her little sister to move in with her mother. At the time Anne was frustrated with the racism in which surrounded her. Because she was young she did not understand why black and whites were segregated and that the white people were treated as a superior race. After moving several more times they moved into a house which was where she spent the rest of her childhood growing up. Soon afterwards Anne started working for a white neighbor. The women who she worked for was kind to Anne however her mother, Mrs. Burke, whom was racist, did not think highly of her. Mrs. Burke had old-fashioned ways and thought that Anne was overpaid compared to the other blacks. Mrs. Burke use to comment to Anne and tell what she thought of blacks, which upset her a great deal. Anne, still young, was confused on why she was targeted indepently as a race. This was shown when a black boy in town was killed for whistling at white women. Anne was told by Mrs. Burke that, he was killed because he got out of place with a white women (p.121). To Anne this was a very real wake up call that blacks had little say so in civil punishment. Anne questioned many people on why black were singled out. One person in particular was her teacher, in which she felt like the lowest animal on earth (p. 129). Hatred soon followed for blacks and especially whites. For the obvious she hated whites, however her reason for hating blacks was that they were doing nothing to stand up for themselves.
Anne received a basketball scholarship from high school and attended a junior college. With scholarship in hand she was able to enroll in Hatchez Junior College where she knocked on the doors to leave. Soon afterwards Anne got a full scholarship to Tougaloo College, which was on of the best colleges at the time for blacks. At Tougaloo Anne meet the secretary of the NAACP on campus. Knowing all about the organization she knew all about the kinds of trouble that lied ahead to anyone who even talked of it. Members were killed even if suspected of being a member. Afraid that word of mouth would get around if she joined she didn t want anything to get herself hurt or her family either. Distraught form whites she joined out of anger. She was tired of the intimidation, beating, and most importantly death in the black community. The thought of black fighting back made her join the NAACP even more.
Helping out other members it wasn t before long she was hooked on it. Students including her self were failing out of school that were members of NAACP. Anne s first attempt to take on segregation was when a friend of hers went shopping of a summer day and decided to sit down at the white side of the train station. The whites did not find this at all amusing or funny and with hostility they approached them as they escaped in the nick of time. After this conflict the NAACP decided to set up a sit-in. This consisted of Anne and two other chapter members to sit down at a local restaurant counter, which infuriated whites. As the three of them were tossed and beaten around they stood their ground until a former NAACP member forced them out. By this time Anne was pretty much known and hated in Jackson, Mississippi. Weather she liked it or not whites saw her as the leader of the NAACP movement. Later on Anne helped start a voter registration campaign and moved to Canton and joined CORE. Here Anne was faced with the majority of her problems. Being so bold and outspoken many were intimidated by Anne and her workers, since they knew the consequences of their actions. During her stay at Canton Anne and others received such harsh threats that they were forced to sleep outside. By this time Anne was fed up with the Canton movement and focused her attention to college and to say out of harms way. However this was not the end. Arriving back in Canton she found blacks had held their own ground and were upholding demonstration for them selves. While doing so a boy was beaten to his death by tow police officers. This was a harsh blow to NAACP workers. So many were scared and angry many of them were hiding out in their homes. When Anne left to graduate she often wondered if her efforts were for a worth cause.
Although Coming of Age in Mississippi was a start in the black movement it did indeed leave open doors for what lied ahead for black. Anne Moody moved up and out of racism and turned her and others lives around. Anne Moody should be and has been credited for Civil Rights to black, which was a major success during her career. Although she was a small drop in a lake at the time she encouraged others to find their civil rights too.