Coming of Age in Mississippi, Anne Moody
Anne moody was born in 1940 in the rural area of Mississippi. She was a great African – American author who wrote about her experiences growing up in a black poor environment in Mississippi and how she joined the civil rights movements to fight against racism against blacks in the United States. She was the first born child in a family of nine for Sir Fred and Elmira Moody. Within the course of her upbringing Anne’s parents separated and she grew up with her mother in Centreville town Mississippi, while her father shifted to a nearby town where he lived with another woman. At that young and tender age, she began working for the white families in the area by cleaning their houses and assisting their children to complete their home work for only a few dollars a week. At the same time she maintained high performance in her academic work by scoring perfect grades in school and helping at church (Moody, 1970, 12).
From the community she used to hear stories of interracial sexual abuse and other malicious acts of racial intimidation. Ann graduated with honors from a segregated all- black high school and later got scholarship as a basket ball player to join Natchez junior college in 1961.To further her studies she moved to Tougaloo College still on an academic scholarship where she got a full degree certificate. While in Tougaloo University she got involved with the Congress of Racial Equity which was a National Association for the advancement of colored people in U.S.A.Her interest to join this movement might have been instigated by the stories she heard from to her community about interracial sexual intimidation. After completing her studies Moody became a full time worker in the civil rights movement by participating in a Woolworth’s lunchcounter sit – in and protests with Jackson of Mississippi (Moody, 1970, 15).
Her book Coming of Age in Mississippi was acclaimed for its realistic display of her life as a young African -American before and during the civil rights movement. In the race to fight for the rights of the colored people in Mississippi moody faced tight challenges from the male dominion and terror from the white supremacist but she later made it to attain a position of leadership. She fought against the idea of being sheltered and worked hard as many men did for independence. She fought for the freedom of her race agitating that liberation was as an important tool for black women as it was to the black men. She led herself to be a well known activist and stood out for herself as a woman who had significant voice.
Anne worked in dangerous places in Mississippi and as her powers continued to unfold the more threatening and scaring her work became. She went to a point of sacrificing opportunities of being with her family for the sake of the movement. In any case she was quite aware of her fame and returning back to her hometown meant putting her family in danger of being abused by the white law enforcement officials. In stead, Anne utilized her prominate position well to educate others on the important racial issues. She tirelessly worked to ensure that all young children received basic education which she believed would enable them access more opportunities when they grew up. She as well worked with teenager whom she believed that they were able to make significant change in their society. Anne found it hard to engage adults simply because they were too afraid to change things that Anne questioned and a few of those who tied to vote or join the civil rights movement were either fired from their jobs or subjected to beatings or abuse from white people (Moody, 1970, 36).
Anne’s philosophy was able to prefigure the black power ideologies which had emerged from the non-violent civil rights. She aimed at taking power from the whites and influenced other members of the black community to do so well in fighting against racism. She thoroughly understood that the black male dominance was more common in the Black Power Movement who could not have give her a chance to participate in the civil rights movements as much as she would have wished to take chances. In the non – violent Civil Rights Movement, women were given bigger roles to play than in the Black Power Movement. Anne strongly felt that she couldn’t stand with that passivity of the non – violent movement. Anne couldn’t admit any man to take credit for work she did and she laid a good example for women who came after her, to follow as they were also to be faced with continued oppression in the form of male dominance of the black race.
From a close comparison of Anne Moody’s upbringing and her eventual decision to become a civil rights activist is evident that, both of the experiences she encountered had great similarities in the way she had to fight and struggle to find her way out. Both environments were tough and challenging and she had to apply physical strength and her intellectual powers to over come the forces of poverty back at home and to beat the challenges enforced to her in her career by the white supremacists. Her background environment was her major stepping stone that saw her success as a civil rights activist (Moody, 1970, 86).
Moody Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi: An Autobiography. New York, Dell Publishing Company, 1970, pp.12, 15, 36, 86