Essay Sample: Coming of Age in Mississippi Book Review

Published: 2022-12-02
Essay Sample: Coming of Age in Mississippi Book Review
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Books
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 964 words
9 min read

The writing, "Coming of Age in Mississippi" is an autobiography by Anne Moody, born and brought up black in a small town in Mississippi where the mother and father sharecropped cotton before the father fled while the mother moved into town. Written in the first person, the book "Coming of Age in Mississippi" is detailed, rich in character and dialogue, and structured in a chronological manner evocative of the impoverished and racially oppressed African Americans in Mississippi during the formative period of the Civil Rights Movement (Moody, 1968). This paper will deliver a review of the book "Coming of Age in Mississippi" along with answering questions about Anne Moody's experiences and her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

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Throughout the book, Anne struggles with feelings concerning what she believes in especially because she grew up during the events of the Civil Rights movement. Along with the struggles such as dealing with prejudice, Anne had to deal with hardships of being poor as well as the outcomes of her actions as she uses her strong will and heroism to achieve things. Moreover, in comparison of Anne Moody's life experience with that of other individuals, Anne records the events in her life as a young African America from her fourth to the twenty-fourth year in thirty chapters grouped in four major sections: "Childhood," "Highschool," "College," and "The Movement." In the first section of the book involving Anne Moody's childhood, Anne was left by her father when she was four, and she got her first job at nine years old (Moody, 1968). Throughout her childhood, Anne underwent various experiences that left her aware of the things she had to do to survive in Mississippi. With the backgrounds, they are different with others as they set the guidelines for the rest of her life especially in the strive for survival.

However, it was not until when Anne joined a high school that she developed a concern for the prevailing prejudice the black people received. In her high school experience, Anne became concerned with people and hated individuals, particularly her own who did not stand up for prejudice and oppression. Moreover, Anne had various experiences during her college and movement life similar to the prior experiences that left her frustrated and furious concerning the disunity among the black and the multiple cases of prejudice. As a result, it is outright clear that Anne Moody's experiences could be compared with others at the same time. Even though Anne Moody could share some of her childhood experiences with others, there was a difference in her life; however, her optimism is awe-inspiring.

Furthermore, her experiences were typical of the period. Since the book, "Coming of Age in Mississippi" covers the period when racial discrimination was at its peak and taken for granted with no precise movements, there were minimal concerns, especially by the blacks. As the biography derives, Anne Moody was frustrated by the events surrounding the black fighting for equality. Anne Moody's experience was typical to the period considering that she was furious and frustrated at her people (blacks) since they would not stand for themselves while unethical, horrible, and discriminating things were happening to them. As a result of the urge for a better life through social movements for the blacks, Anne worked hard for the black's equality that she rendered her life in risk as she tried to recruit other blacks into joining (Hudson, 2005).

The involvement of Moody in the Civil Rights Movement is one of the critical aspects of the book. Through Moody's evolution in consideration to her experiences, they are parallel and symbolize the development of the civil rights movement. As Anne Moody joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in her college years, she was engrossed in the campaign in such a way that her grades deteriorated; however, she cared less about her classes since she finally started feeling something could be done to change the relationship between the Whites and African Americans. During her senior years in college, she was heavily involved with the Civil Rights Movement through giving speeches and participating in other activities (such as demonstrations) which in one occasion gets her arrested. Through the different organizations, Anne Moody was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement mainly through participating in the various projects by the movements (Duran, 2014).

However, one major obstacle hindering the freedom of the blacks in terms of their rights was the fact that Anne Moody lacked support from the black community. In the 1960s and 1950s, Moody has involved events especially the preconditioning for social change with the aim to get the black community to support the different projects NAACP and The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were focused on. Even though most of the individuals in the black community did not like the projects that Moody was undertaking in the Civil Rights Movements, it took a lot of work to convince them since they were afraid of change. However, the "Freedom Summer" is one example of projects that Anne worked on to acquire black community support.

In conclusion, Anne Moody thought that the leadership of the movement was doing everything possible to ensure that they achieved their goal. For example, in a letter written to Emma, by Moody, she quotes that the SNCC director was concerned about the problems, and was even planning to move into Southwest Mississippi (Moody, 1968).


Duran, J. (2014). Anne Moody and the Mississippi Life: A Tale of the Civil Rights Era. Peace Research, 46(2), 113-125.

Hudson, A. P. (2005). Mississippi Lost and Found: Anne Moody's Autobiography(is) and Racial Melancholia. a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, 20(2), 282-296.

Moody, A. (1968). Coming of Age in Mississippi: The Classic Autobiography of Growing Up Poor and Black in The Rural South. Random House Publishing. ISBN: 0-385-33781-7

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