Coming of Age in Mississippi Summary Coming of Age in Mississippi is an autobiography about Anne Moody’s life. She grew up on a plantation with her family until her father began to gamble and eventually leaves his family for another woman. Anne’s mother, now having three children, quickly finds a Job to somewhat support her family. They move to Centerville and Anne begins school in her segregated community. The difference between black and white has never been apparent to Anne until she accidentally walks into the white section of the movie theatre with neighbors and is chastised by her mother.
A few days after, Anne becomes aware of the inequality and disadvantages of having darker skin in her community. Being an exceptional student in the fourth grade, Anne decides it is time to begin working as well. Her single mother struggles to support the family; therefore Anne takes it upon herself to contribute to the income throughout her school life. As Anne gets older, racism becomes more apparent to her and she discovers an organization known as the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). The NAACP is an illegal group in Mississippi and at first Anne does ot Join.
Once she begins college and moves in with her father’s family, Anne is more inclined to fight for her freedom and Joins NAACP. Even though she knows Joining this group will put her family in danger, equality is important to her. After many protests such as the Woolworth sit in and numerous dangerous threats to herself and her family, Anne realizes that everything she has been fighting for is simply Just for small victories such as voting registration and political theatre. She moves up North in her early twenties when she comes to the conclusion that acism will not be easily overcome.
Moody represents her lack of understanding the difference between whites and blacks even as a child when she doesn’t see anything in personality as a child. Therefore, she lines up her white friends and plays doctor to examine their “privates”; since she hears white adults refer to themselves as superior and Anne cannot see anything that makes the two races different, it must me their privates. Moody uses this example to express the undeniable superior atmosphere that the white people create yet the obvious facts that the only difference is the color of their kin; this being a major theme in the novel.
Not only does it bother Anne that whites feel they are better than blacks, but she resents that black people Just accept the injustice; a prime example being Anne’s family. They discourage her from becoming a part of the NAACP and lack the drive for fairness. Anne Moody presents her story from a victim’s point of view in a civil rights conflict. Mississippi is notorious for being a very racist area and growing up an African American female would be extremely challenging. Though her story is only to face and grow up with.
One could consider this autobiography one sided or biased but I personally do not think it applies to a story that includes segregation and the mistreatment of other individuals or a certain race. I personally enjoyed this book because not only was it interesting to learn since it is a true story, but I like to live vicariously through the characters I read about; since Anne was close to my age it was more realistic for me to compare my life to hers and imagine if I had to grow up the way she did. Her story made me put my life into perspective; I could have it worse.
Since Anne is a smart and independent woman I believe that she is very easy to feel compatible with. I did not particularly like the ending but I can relate to it. Most readers appreciate a happy ending, as I would as well; but, Anne felt she was being realistic giving up on her civil rights organization and moving away because even though she as much as she could, she realized that she cannot fght for white people to change their mind about racism. Coming of Age in Mississippi is a novel that can remind women to keep their true goal in mind and do what they can to succeed.