Anne Moody’s book, Coming of Age in Mississippi, not only portrays the life of a young black female struggling to grow up from the 1940s to the 1960s, it takes a look at how racism and movements for racial equality effected the main character, Essie Mae, as well as the whole society. This book recounts the life of Essie Mae, who is actually Anne Moody herself, from the age of four to the age of twenty-four. It depicts a time that some may consider to be one of the hardest times to grow up a poor black in America.
Essie May grew up in a time in which, although many things had changes, there was still a great deal of racial inequality and discrimination. Families such as hers lived in poorly built homes on the property of the white families for whom they worked. Essie gave many first hand accounts of watching her parents, mainly her mother, work long, hard hours most of the week, only to bring home a small amount of pay that could barely take care of her family. It was only a matter of time before Essie herself would be working long hours for white families for little pay in order to help support herself and her siblings.
As Essie grew older and began to befriend white children, she began to notice how similar she was to the “white folks” physically and yet, how different their lives were. She could not understand how and why people so similar had to live so differently. She questioned the segregation of the schools and churches they attended and the movie theaters they frequented. By the time she reached her teens, Essie Mae, now known as Anne, had grown tired of the beatings and killings of people she knew as well as other African Americans. She had begun to immerse herself in activities such as basketball, band, and church groups in order to keep her mind off what was happening around her.
... of a store owned by the Wallaces, a white family. Black boycotting of white stores was quite common in the 1930 s because ... an African American author, who grew up in Southern USA she was born after the time in which her book was supposed ... to be set. Just like Cassie, she grew up with stories ...
It was after she graduated from Johnson High School, left Natchez Junior College where she attended on a basketball scholarship, and enrolled in Tougaloo College that Anne began to take a full interest in institutions such as the NAACP and the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee).
It is at this point in the book where the reader is truly shown the severity of the events taking place during that time. Beatings, killings, and riots are described in detail as seen and heard by Anne Moody. It is also at this point where Anne begins to take action with groups such as CORE and COFO and takes part in historical events herself. In May of 1963, she and two other Tougaloo students participated in a sit-in at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Jackson and later that year, participated in the March on Washington when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. Eventually, Anne began to feel like the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi was making little progress. It was at this point where she decided to become more militant.
Coming of Age in Mississippi is written in the first person narrative, meaning that the story is told from the point of view of the person telling the story. In this case, Anne Moody is telling the story and the story being told is about her. This can be helpful and harmful to readers who are trying to get a historical perspective while reading this book. The autobiographical first person narrative used in Coming of Age in Mississippi is helpful to its readers in that it gives a first hand account of the experiences and historical events witnessed by the individual. The reader becomes familiarized with how Anne Moody herself actually felt about and dealt with the issues of racial discrimination. This style of writing builds a sort of connection between the reader and the author in that the reader can actually attempt to relate to the author. Although the style of writing used has its benefits, it also has its disadvantages. With the reader seeing things through the eyes of Anne Moody, he or she merely gets a glimpse of what was occurring during the period between 1940 and 1960. The reader only becomes familiar with the specific experiences on one individual, which could possibly cause a bias about that time. Anne Moody was not the only young black girl who had to face discrimination and hardships and other events occurred other than what she personally experienced. Having a story told in the first person, as it is done in this book, does not seem to give a complete and fully accurate historical perspective for the reader.
... (the least amount of hours a full time student may take) three times a week. A student must learn twelve hours of new information ... a week. A student can most definitely create blisters and unbearable cramps from notes taken the whole time period of the class. Another ... hours for each section per class. "Why so much?" a reader may ask. The answer is because most teachers feel that ...
While I feel that Coming of Age in Mississippi can serve as a respectable source for providing a historical perspective, I feel that other sources would have to be used in order to give a fully proper representation of the time period discussed in the book. For example, if I were the teacher, I would accompany this book with a variety of literary and multimedia sources. I would select more factual and textbook style pieces of literature about the time period. I would also find and use personal accounts of not only blacks of the time, but also of the whites as well to give the students a better understanding for both sides. Finally, I would show old and new books, magazine articles, and audio/visual clips about events and organizations such as the NAACP. This would give my students knowledge of the true happenings of the time period and institutional goals that were held. It would also give the students the opportunity to actually see the different perspectives and the changes that occurred during this particular time period.
Coming of Age in Mississippi can be considered a great tool for giving students a greater look and sense of understanding of the turmoil filled period between the 1940s and 1960s. Although the style of writing used can create a bias on the part of the reader, Anne Moody’s first hand accounts of the events and feelings of the era give a more in-depth meaning to those who read this book. This book serves as both a book for a reader seeking entertainment, as well as a book for a reader seeking knowledge.
... evaluation of the book will discuss: my opinion of the book, insights gathered concerning this time period from the book, if this book supports or contradicts ... in the 18 th century which deeply involves the reader into the book and makes him / her feel as if they where ... the attitude of most African Americans at the time. This portrayal makes the reader think of the way African American where treated ...