Coming of Age in Mississippi
Coming of age in Mississippi
Delta Trade Paperbacks
Original Publication Date: 1968
Coming of Age in Mississippi is the story of a young black girl growing up in the farmlands of the south during the 1940’s and 50’s. When Anne Moody starts to work at nine-years-old to keep her family from starving, she’s faced with making sense of a society that sees her as a lesser human because of her skin color. Working long hours for a fraction of the pay only pushes Moody to work harder, but when a school friend is killed over the claim that he showed interest in a white woman, determination slips away, leaving a deep fear for fundamental safety. As a young child it seemed impossible to think that color could be the cause of society’s injustice, but disappointment grew with her realization. She decides that silence is the same as death and finds power in speaking out against the injustice. Moody’s story is hard to put down. The rich description coupled with her amazing accomplishments and painful struggle make her life unforgettable.
Citizens have been faced with corrupt politicians and broken-government for as long as societies have existed. But Anne Moody’s story, Coming of Age in Mississippi, describes something far worse; American citizens were broken during this time in history, to accept and enforce such cruelty.
Reading about poverty is painful and scary. It’s easy to set on the outside and discuss rising above through education, but on the inside it seems far more difficult, and way out of reach. No matter what class in society, it’s always easier to stay with what we know. Anne Moody’s story takes struggle to a different level. It’s one thing to wonder how bills will be paid or to know the pain of hunger, but to be a target for blame and anger, and to have no protection would feel hopeless. Moody shows the pain and despair that comes as she grows and discovers society’s injustice toward Black Americans, and she also shows the incredible strength of human character to have the courage and determination to fight against it.
Questions that came to mind while reading Coming of Age in Mississippi:
There are many in society that still have issues with color of skin. Is the struggle for equality an ongoing battle? Is holding current generations responsible for mistakes made by people in the past effective? How can we move past discrimination and prejudice?
I had known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was a new fear known to me-the fear of being killed just because I was black.
Anne Moody Coming of Age in Mississippi