The Classic Autobiography of Growing Up Poor and Black in the Rural South

By Anne Moody

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
judy demma
Coming of Age offered a perspective into a area of women’s history that you don’t necessarily read about in text books. Throughout the narrative Moody describes her life in the South and her journey as she transforms and becomes a part of not only the womens movement but also the Civil Rights movement.

Her insightful description about how the African American community was split during this time was eye opening. Her antictodes about how part of her family that was lighter skin than her and how they would attack and ridicule Moody and her mother was something that I didn’t realize happened during the time.

Most importantly this book, is news that stays news, the issues faced by the African American community at the time are still issues faced today. African Americans may not be getting beat to death by white men, but they are being killed by a system that is dominated by white men. Making you think as you read about how these isssues are still prevalent and are not totally reconciled.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
willa ocampo
Ms. Moody's memoir covers from her birth in 1940 and up to 1964. Published in 1968, the young lady does a very commendable job of describing her life living in Mississippi during Jim Crow. Her story is penned in a straight-forward manner with no flowery prose. The author's style fits very well with the harshness of being black in a state that is one of the major armpits of our country when it comes to human rights. There are moments of levity, but mostly it has a tone of anger, angst and youthful self-righteousness. Despite Ms. Moody being extremely smart, athletic, beautiful, driven and strong-willed, the idiotic handicap of being black made her achievements even more impressive. Without question, she was the exception and not the rule for black advancement. African-Americans under Jim Crow had very little access to a good education, jobs, civil rights and lived in constant fear of whites.

The memoir is broken up into four major sections: her childhood, high school, college, and participation in the Civil Rights movement. Reading about her childhood helps to understand who and why she evolved into a Civil Rights stalwart. Every day this head strong young lady put her life on the line by simply trying to be viewed as an equal. She was one of the three people who famously sat at a Woolworth's whites-only lunch counter and were assaulted by yahoos from the shallow end of the gene pool.

Much like today's movement for equal rights for gays, it always the impatient youth who force change in our society. Older people who have built a life for themselves fear they will lose what they've attained if they publicly support such movements. The young adults, just starting out in life, have little to risk in material matters, but their passion for justice puts them in harms way. Ms. Moody's actions came at great personal cost for not just her but also her family who pleaded for her to stop, friends and basically all blacks. She was a woman of immense courage who shows that one person can make a difference. It is a gripping read about a woman's indomitable spirit to help correct an immoral system.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
maria elena sullivan
If you're white, this book may take you out of yourself for a while and make you feel the horrors of being a Negro in the South decades ago. I really got into Anne Moody's head and felt her pain--first growing up poor and black in Mississippi and then having the strength and the courage to endure the heartbreaking life of a civil rights worker.

Anne Moody has so many varied experiences and you'll feel as though you're right there--working as a maid for white families, doing a type of slave labor in a chicken factory, washing dishes in a restaurant, pursuing a college degree and graduating, and playing a terrifying game of cat and mouse with the cops and the Klu Klux Klan while she works on voter registration in the South.

You'll feel sad, frustrated, and enraged at man's inhumanity to man she is witness to throughout her life. But if you're going to read this book, better now than when it was written in 1968 because at least you can see that we have made progress.

I gave this book four stars instead of five only because I became a bit bogged down in the last chapters of the book which didn't seem to read as smoothly as the first portions. So many characters and organizations. I'm embarrassed to admit that for a while I got mixed up and thought that the Dr. King she kept mentioning was Martin Luther King, Jr. But instead he was a white friend in the movement. This is probably my weakness rather than the book's weakness, but I can only call it as I see it.
'It Will Never Happen to Me!' Children of Alcoholics :: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison :: and a Devil's Deal by Dick Lehr (2012-05-22) - Whitey Bulger :: The Black Company (Chronicles of The Black Company #1) :: and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
linda wiggers
I first heard this book recommended as an alternative to The Help: a memoir about the segregated South and the civil rights movement, written by a black woman who became an activist. After reading it, I consider it an excellent alternative to all those books about the segregated South written by white people - you know the ones, with their cardboard too-good-to-be-true characters who exist to be victims. You get much more texture and nuance, a far more credible picture of individuals and their communities, from someone who came from that world than from an outsider.

Anne Moody was born to a poor family in rural Mississippi, where she grew up caring for many younger siblings and started work cleaning houses at a young age. The early part of this book is less about segregation than growing up poor - tellingly, Moody remembers exactly how much she made at every job she had, and as a teenager she had some pretty awful ones. Apparently she's called herself an activist rather than a writer, but don't believe it. First, even when the subject matter is mundane, her writing keeps it interesting: simple but clear and very readable, and she takes creative license in writing scenes and dialogue (this may annoy some purists, but didn't bother me). Second, the book never feels like an op-ed piece; Moody writes about events as she experienced them at the time, so, for instance, even though later she comes to despise all the white people in her hometown, this doesn't stop her from writing positively about early employers in the first section of the book.

In college Moody became involved with the civil rights movement, which forms the focus of the later part of the book. She participates in some sit-ins, which get ugly, but her main activity is trying to sign black people up to vote, which in rural Mississippi at the time was a dangerous occupation: the workers regularly get threats from the white community, they're harassed by police, and for several years Moody is unable to visit home for fear of harm to her family. It's no surprise when by the end of the book she's burned out and disillusioned; one of the things this book shows is the far-reaching effect of even a small amount of violence and intimidation. You don't need the KKK beating everyone up, as they do in the more melodramatic novels set in this period, to explain the system of social control that existed. Moody and others showed extraordinary courage in standing up to that system, and if some elements of her story seem foreign to us now (all right, y'all, we're driving across the South in an integrated car! I hope we make it), it's because of the brave people who took risks to change society. Sometimes I think we forget that the civil rights movement wasn't just marches and the "I Have a Dream" speech (ironically, Moody was not a fan of that speech. She didn't think the movement needed dreamers).

At any rate, I consider this memoir well worth reading, especially for Americans interested in how much our country has changed (and how much it hasn't) in the last 50 years. It grabbed my attention right away and proved to be an enthralling read, and I'm only sorry Moody hasn't published more since this came out in 1968; I'm sure she has more to say.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shayda salarvand
The author deftly draws for the reader a searing and compelling autobiographical perspective of what life was like for her in the rural deep south during the nineteen forties and fifties, when she was growing up. It also gives a birds-eye view of the civil rights movement of the early nineteen sixties.

Written by Ms. Moody when she was twenty-eight, it is a damning portrait of what life was like for African-Americans in the deep south. It tells of parallel lifestyles that were preordained and dependent upon whether one were black or one were white. If one were black, one was destined to a lifetime of poverty, because job opportunities were limited to bottom of the rung jobs with no opportunity for growth and which were designed by their very nature to keep one subservient. It tells of schools so substandard as to make one non-competitive in the larger world. It tells of dilapidated and ramshackle housing without indoor plumbing that was the lot of many blacks in the rural south.

It describes the fear that was palpable in ones every day life, if one were black; a fear of making a white person angry, because the consequences that would follow could end up costing one dearly. It sums up the daily indignities that were a part pf growing up black in the rural south in the mid twentieth century. It is a story of frustration and anger at the inequities found in every day living. It is a story of how one young woman dealt with that system and survived to become a civil rights activist at a time when to be such was tantamount to asking for trouble of a deadly nature.

Well told and deftly drawn, the author conveys a real sense of the times in which she grew up. She ably captures an era in America that should not be forgotten, if only to remind the reader that it was not that long ago that some Americans were treated like second class citizens. Unfortunately, despite best intentions, some still are, though it is now done in more covert, rather than overt, fashion. We, as Americans, may have come a long way, but we still have a ways to go in eliminating the inequities that still exist in our society. Ms. Moody's autobiography serves to remind us that the past was not all that long ago and, in some measure, is still with us today.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jen padgett bohle
The author deftly draws for the reader a searing and compelling autobiographical perspective of what life was like for her in the rural deep south during the nineteen forties and fifties, when she was growing up. It also gives a birds-eye view of the civil rights movement of the early nineteen sixties.

Written by Ms. Moody when she was twenty-eight, it is a damning portrait of what life was like for African-Americans in the deep south. It tells of parallel lifestyles that were preordained and dependent upon whether one were black or one were white. If one were black, one was destined to a lifetime of poverty, because job opportunities were limited to bottom of the rung jobs with no opportunity for growth and which were designed by their very nature to keep one subservient. It tells of schools so substandard as to make one non-competitive in the larger world. It tells of dilapidated and ramshackle housing without indoor plumbing that was the lot of many blacks in the rural south.

It describes the fear that was palpable in ones every day life, if one were black; a fear of making a white person angry, because the consequences that would follow could end up costing one dearly. It sums up the daily indignities that were a part pf growing up black in the rural south in the mid twentieth century. It is a story of frustration and anger at the inequities found in every day living. It is a story of how one young woman dealt with that system and survived to become a civil rights activist at a time when to be such was tantamount to asking for trouble of a deadly nature.

Well told and deftly drawn, the author conveys a real sense of the times in which she grew up. She ably captures an era in America that should not be forgotten, if only to remind the reader that it was not that long ago that some Americans were treated like second class citizens. Unfortunately, despite best intentions, some still are, though it is now done in more covert, rather than overt, fashion. We, as Americans, may have come a long way, but we still have a ways to go in eliminating the inequities that still exist in our society. Ms. Moody's autobiography serves to remind us that the past was not all that long ago and, in some measure, is still with us today.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nazir
The author deftly draws for the reader a searing and compelling autobiographical perspective of what life was like for her in the rural deep south during the nineteen forties and fifties, when she was growing up. It also gives a birds-eye view of the civil rights movement of the early nineteen sixties.

Written by Ms. Moody when she was twenty-eight, it is a damning portrait of what life was like for African-Americans in the deep south. It tells of parallel lifestyles that were preordained and dependent upon whether one were black or one were white. If one were black, one was destined to a lifetime of poverty, because job opportunities were limited to bottom of the rung jobs with no opportunity for growth and which were designed by their very nature to keep one subservient. It tells of schools so substandard as to make one non-competitive in the larger world. It tells of dilapidated and ramshackle housing without indoor plumbing that was the lot of many blacks in the rural south.

It describes the fear that was palpable in ones every day life, if one were black; a fear of making a white person angry, because the consequences that would follow could end up costing one dearly. It sums up the daily indignities that were a part pf growing up black in the rural south in the mid twentieth century. It is a story of frustration and anger at the inequities found in every day living. It is a story of how one young woman dealt with that system and survived to become a civil rights activist at a time when to be such was tantamount to asking for trouble of a deadly nature.

Well told and deftly drawn, the author conveys a real sense of the times in which she grew up. She ably captures an era in America that should not be forgotten, if only to remind the reader that it was not that long ago that some Americans were treated like second class citizens. Unfortunately, despite best intentions, some still are, though it is now done in more covert, rather than overt, fashion. We, as Americans, may have come a long way, but we still have a ways to go in eliminating the inequities that still exist in our society. Ms. Moody's autobiography serves to remind us that the past was not all that long ago and, in some measure, is still with us today.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
plorqk
If you ever wanted a first-hand account of life as a black person in the Deep South of Mississippi before and during the Civil Rights movement, then this is the book to read. Excellently written by Ann Moody, a woman who grew up dirt poor in Mississippi, whose family had to struggle just to put food on the table. But as Ann herself put it, her greatest struggle growing up was "being black". And as she grew up and saw the injustices heaped upon herself and her family and friends just because of the color of their skin, Ann got involved in the various civil rights groups; she was one of the people involved in the famous Woolworth counter sit-ins. At that counter for 'whites only', she allowed herself to be ridiculed and taunted, have ketchup and mustard tossed on her, and get burned by cigerettes while the crowd around her grew to dangerous levels. I didn't grow up poor or black in the south, so I would never even begin to understand the suffering Ann went through, but she tells her story in such a remarkable way so that I can see her life through her eyes, and it's not a pretty picture. But she's a strong woman and very much to be admired. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but it is sobering and a story that needed to be told.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brenda
I read this book when it first came out, and it was one of the things that made me political instead of hippie in the late 1960s. Moody didn't follow up this book with anything of political impact, but she departed from the status her origins would've predestined her. Me too: My own overt political activity evolved into a more low-profile choice: More engagement, a more politically conscious way of thinking and living than before.
Reading this book now isn't like reading it back then, but it 's still moving: Injustice may have shifted, but it's still there. We're 45 years older, 90 years more cynical, but the fact is that this is a memoir from when idealism and conviction really achieved something--which makes it more than just a snapshot from the civil rights movement.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jdegroot
When you hear the words "coming of age in Mississippi" the first thing that comes to mind are images of cross burnings and lynchings- which is what made me avoid buying this book for the longest time. But it's so much more. Which is why I thank my lucky stars that I did eventually decided to give it a try. I mean- where in a book called Coming of Age in Mississippi would you expect to hear about working in a restaurant in New Orleans with cross-dressing males giving you advice on your make-up? This book is very well-written- considering Anne Moody doesn't call herself a writer, entertaining and humorous in parts- another thing you don't expect from a book called Coming of Age in Mississippi. Such as when she describes her baptism, which had me laughing aloud. If you're interested in life in the South, life in America in general, the Civil Rights Movement or just a good biography- pick this up- you won't be disappointed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
julian mcdaniels
A phenomenal account of what it was like to grow up black in rural Mississippi. This intimate work gives reader's specific insight into historical racism that textbooks cannot illustrate. It's empowering, how Anne never gave up on her righteous fight for equality, and frightening to see all the barriers she faced growing up, specifically being the same age as Emmett Till when he was murdered (14 years old). An interesting read with an important perspective that shows the reader the importance and significance of intersectionality.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cara creger
This book is an actual account of Anne Moody’s life in Mississippi in the 50’s and 60’s. While the brutality may be more subtle, I’m sad to say there’s still much truth to what she says. A book that will make you think and maybe be even a bit discouraged.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rebecca edmonds
It was August 25th, 2001. I was in the Young Adult section of Borders looking for a few last-days-of-summer break-reads. Then, as I'm looking, my mother picks up Coming Of Age in Mississippi. At first I look at the book and read the captions and descriptions of the book. Then I think to myself, "Do I really want to read another book about segregation, racism and lynching. I mean like, We studied a lot of this in history this past school year. Do I really want to read more of it?" Now don't get me wrong, not every book that is a memoir of those times is going to be just like the other. So instead of judging the book by it's cover, category/genre and description, I decided to go for it and give it a try. I really liked reading this book. It took me a while because I couldn't always read it when I wanted to, but I finished it. There were so many points in the book where I felt proud of Anne/Essie. She did so many things for the benfit of others. She protested maggot-infested food, she held rallies at her church to motivate people to "fight" for their rights and so much more. In this novel, I also read about the more personal struggles she went through such as denouncing her religion because she was perplexed on why God would let such terrible things happen to a race of people, problems at home, her stepfather tearing apart the family, her leaving home in search of more opportunity and much more that you will just have to read the book in order to find out. Now you're probably wondering, "If you like this book so much, then why are you only giving it 4 stars?" Well, my reason for that is because if there is one thing that I could change about this book, it would be the excessive cursing. Near the middle of the book, I just needed a break from it. But other than that, I highly recommend this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
isaiah smith
Coming of Age in Mississippi was quite possibly one of the best books I've read this year. Not only is it a very troubling and eye opening topic but the way Anne Moody writes and the insight and perspective she is able to give on the social problems that she and many others faced in the South. This book starts off and I immediately assumed this took place in the late 19th century and was utterly shocked to find that this took place only a few decades ago. This book is a great read and I highly suggest it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hayley eoff
"Coming of Age In Mississippi" is an autobiography written by Anne Moody in 1968. Moody, black and born in 1940 in Mississippi, wrote this book at a time in history that Jim Crow laws were still in effect; segregation was in full force; lynchings of blacks were still happening; and the Ku Klux Klan was very active.

How does a young girl find the fortitude within herself to become the civil rights activist that she became and THEN have the extreme courage to write about her life -in a time when it could have very well meant the death of her or members of her family?

This was an eye-opening book to me. It was written clearly, concisely, giving me a bird's eye view and insight into a time in history that had seemed very distant to me before. I learned so many new things from it - about black AND white life during those turbulent, violence filled days. I applaud Anne Moody for writing this book. I understand she does not give interviews any more, which is too bad. I wish I knew how the last half of her life turned out.

This book was recommended to me after I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It was suggested that it might give me a much clearer look at what race relations were really like during those difficult times. I have to agree.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
erica freeman
Okay read if you have time to take oneself back to middle school tactics and childish games. For the most part the book is written so that anyone with 8th grade reading capabilities can comprehend it. The basic struggles depicted in most southern novels with an emotional teen who acts out and sees a way out of poverty through education. But, like most novels of this magnitude her attitude does cause issues along the way. Not a book I plan to pick up again and I just so happen to love southern success stories (with substance and a twist)..
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
elizabeth donegia
I had the privilige to read this book as part of curriculum for a fabulous Native/African-American Women's Studies coursem, two years ago. It was entitled "Locating Ourselves." What an appropriate title! This book definitely fit right into that description. "Coming of Age in Mississippi" is really the story of one brave, ambitious and dedicated young African-American woman's journey and experiences during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Anne must overcome great adversity at a young age, growing up poor, female and Black in the rural South. She makes a decision to dedicate herself to developing her mind, scholastically, and excels in school. This woman's dedication to education keys into other aspects of her life and experiences. Once Ms. Moody is exposed to some of the activism going on to encourage equal rights, as well as encouraging young African-Americans to register to vote, she jumps on board. She becomes part of SNCC, an organization that is a leader in the outreach movement to encourage the Black vote. Anne must come up against racism, sexism, threats and intense repercussions when she takes a stand for this kind of freedom of speech. She participates through her speeches and recruitment effots.

This book is truly an inspiration for people of any background. It is an especially timely novel, at this time, when every human right is being challenged in society, as well as in our government. Does our vote count for something? You can be sure it does. Don't ever take it for granted. We have to thank Anne Moody and people like her who worked to ensure that all people are given equal rights and equal say in important issues applicable to humanity.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matt norvell
Being a Black southerner who teachers this kind of history and who is not a full generation removed from all of this, this book hits the nail on the head. Too often, this era is told in a "soft soap" fashion, which is easly explained when you consider that so many people from this American gestapo era are still alive. You get all the facts here, from treasonous Blacks who sold out the people during segrgation (and who today pretend as if they were heroes at the time), to the evil cops who made Bull Connor look nice, to the horrbile conditions that Black southerners faced in education (I can tell you that not much has changed there), the damaging psychologicla effects of segregation on both Blacks and Whites, and to the young Blacks and Whites who came together to straighten up this mess. You get it raw, straight, and with no chaser here. Sorta the Southern female counterpart to "Manchild in the Promised Land."
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
owain jones
This was the pick for my book club and I wasn't really looking forward to it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was an easy read. Not at all like some of the other non-fictions that I had read. There were some parts that were slow-going and hard to get through and it took a while to get used to the uneducated slang during the first part of the book. I wasn't happy with the ending, but only because it just ended. I'm sure you could look up the legal records to find out what happened, but it would have been nice to have it there for you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stephen matlock
Great detail of the rural south, and how someone came of age during the Civil Rights time. Gripping story of a young woman and her life experiences during that time. I don't know if I could have been so strong during that period, that I am grateful that there were others like her who stood up for our race to make things happen. However, now in this day and age, I don't really see much of a change or difference in the treatment that we as minority people see. Yes, things have definitely changed, but racism is on a whole different level these days because of technology. There shouldn't be a time in our life now that there are still "firsts" for blacks, and yet we still see it. I know that there have been vast improvements, and I am extremely grateful for the people who have sacrificed their lives for minorities of every race, but racism is still strong to this day and age. In the last sentences of this book, she asks the question, will we overcome someday? And responds, "I wonder." Which is deep because I still wonder if we have overcome as well.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
roberto paz
Okay read if you have time to take oneself back to middle school tactics and childish games. For the most part the book is written so that anyone with 8th grade reading capabilities can comprehend it. The basic struggles depicted in most southern novels with an emotional teen who acts out and sees a way out of poverty through education. But, like most novels of this magnitude her attitude does cause issues along the way. Not a book I plan to pick up again and I just so happen to love southern success stories (with substance and a twist)..
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kbouwman
I had the privilige to read this book as part of curriculum for a fabulous Native/African-American Women's Studies coursem, two years ago. It was entitled "Locating Ourselves." What an appropriate title! This book definitely fit right into that description. "Coming of Age in Mississippi" is really the story of one brave, ambitious and dedicated young African-American woman's journey and experiences during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Anne must overcome great adversity at a young age, growing up poor, female and Black in the rural South. She makes a decision to dedicate herself to developing her mind, scholastically, and excels in school. This woman's dedication to education keys into other aspects of her life and experiences. Once Ms. Moody is exposed to some of the activism going on to encourage equal rights, as well as encouraging young African-Americans to register to vote, she jumps on board. She becomes part of SNCC, an organization that is a leader in the outreach movement to encourage the Black vote. Anne must come up against racism, sexism, threats and intense repercussions when she takes a stand for this kind of freedom of speech. She participates through her speeches and recruitment effots.

This book is truly an inspiration for people of any background. It is an especially timely novel, at this time, when every human right is being challenged in society, as well as in our government. Does our vote count for something? You can be sure it does. Don't ever take it for granted. We have to thank Anne Moody and people like her who worked to ensure that all people are given equal rights and equal say in important issues applicable to humanity.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
micki mcnie
Being a Black southerner who teachers this kind of history and who is not a full generation removed from all of this, this book hits the nail on the head. Too often, this era is told in a "soft soap" fashion, which is easly explained when you consider that so many people from this American gestapo era are still alive. You get all the facts here, from treasonous Blacks who sold out the people during segrgation (and who today pretend as if they were heroes at the time), to the evil cops who made Bull Connor look nice, to the horrbile conditions that Black southerners faced in education (I can tell you that not much has changed there), the damaging psychologicla effects of segregation on both Blacks and Whites, and to the young Blacks and Whites who came together to straighten up this mess. You get it raw, straight, and with no chaser here. Sorta the Southern female counterpart to "Manchild in the Promised Land."
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
raul nevarez
This was the pick for my book club and I wasn't really looking forward to it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was an easy read. Not at all like some of the other non-fictions that I had read. There were some parts that were slow-going and hard to get through and it took a while to get used to the uneducated slang during the first part of the book. I wasn't happy with the ending, but only because it just ended. I'm sure you could look up the legal records to find out what happened, but it would have been nice to have it there for you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sean
Great detail of the rural south, and how someone came of age during the Civil Rights time. Gripping story of a young woman and her life experiences during that time. I don't know if I could have been so strong during that period, that I am grateful that there were others like her who stood up for our race to make things happen. However, now in this day and age, I don't really see much of a change or difference in the treatment that we as minority people see. Yes, things have definitely changed, but racism is on a whole different level these days because of technology. There shouldn't be a time in our life now that there are still "firsts" for blacks, and yet we still see it. I know that there have been vast improvements, and I am extremely grateful for the people who have sacrificed their lives for minorities of every race, but racism is still strong to this day and age. In the last sentences of this book, she asks the question, will we overcome someday? And responds, "I wonder." Which is deep because I still wonder if we have overcome as well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alene
Though I read this book many years ago, I had to strongly disagree with part of the editor's initial characterization of this book as being "angry". Powerful, painful and anxiety producing, yes. Angry, no.

I personally came away with the lasting impression of a very honest and heart-felt description of the events and struggles that shaped Ann Moody's life, and her active participation in the Civil Rights Movement. She describes beautifully the fears and pains felt by communities during tragic events such as the murder of the young Emmett Till, and injects the intensity felt by the leaders of the Movement, including MLK Jr., as they constantly tried to dodge authorities.

I strongly believe, and echo other reviewer's opinions, that every High School and young college student should be required to read this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dinah
This book will really suck you in. It's hard for people who aren't from the South to understand the family dynamics, the method of speak, the rural center of it all, etc. But the time period covered while (possibly) somewhat far-removed from today's standards of living is what drives the story forward. The conditions described are both deplorable an' fascinating, an' anyone who thinks slavery ended in 1865 would be greatly challenged by the childhood stories recounted by Anne Moody. One'a the most vivid to me being her description of the chicken factory she worked at in New Orleans. There's no traditional arc here either an' no false hope, possibly because it was published in 1968 at the height of social unrest, but I wouldn't call it a downer either. Its as straightforward as it gets; tumultuous, surreal at times, filled with disillusion an' ultimate uncertainty. But, you will be better for having explored it. I've passed it on to several friends and (if I ever get it back) I intend to read it again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ellen wundersitz
Ms. Moody's account of growing up in Mississippi, dirt poor, often going hungry and dealing with rampant racism; the impact of realising that people were being killed and brutally simply for the color of their skin, is like no other book I've read on the subject. She is a smart young lady and sees that education is the only way out of where she began in life in a 'rotten wood, two room shack'. She also chronicles her efforts in the civil rights movement and in trying to encourage other African Americans to register to vote, she put herself at risk of being killed on many occasions. However, she doesn't come across as wanting anyone to feel sorry for her; I would call her a most stoic individual. I will be interested to see if I can find anything else she's written; I'd like to see if her 'I wonder' in response to how they would find freedom when they went to Washington was ever answered for her. Extremely moving book! I read it in one day.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
crystal tompkins
This book was required reading for my African American History course about 12 years ago. I've lost that copy so I purchased this one, and it's just as good this time around! I highly recommend for anyone who wants a real view of life in the south for a black woman.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amanda betts
This book was amazing. I sat down and intended to space out the reading of this book and I found myself reading it all in one night! The story of Anne Moody and everything she had experienced in her life was so compelling. I loved the way she set up the book into parts and it was an extremely interesting read. I believe this book is so important for everyone to read to truly hear Moody's first-hand account.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
melodie m
Although the author and I are both black, the same age; and both grew up poor in the profoundly racist rural south, and share many experiences, there also are enough differences in our respective experiences to make up another world, and to make this book an uneasy read for me.

Rather than waste a lot of time trying to parse and explain these differences, may I suggest the excellent book by Nicklaus Lehmann, called "The Promise Land." It basically is an ethnographic study of what happens to kids from two black families that migrated to Chicago after WW-II; one family with a background more similar to Anne Moody's (the author of this book); and the other more similar to the Silas Brown family of which I was a part.

Intra-color black differences and gender issues aside, Lehmann has captured the differences between the progenies of the respective families about as accurately and as subtly as can be done by a scholar -- no matter the color. "The Promise Land," summarizes better than I ever could, the core differences between "coming of age in Arkansas in an independent landowning poor black family," and "coming of age in a poor Mississippi share-cropping black family."

One of the main differences is that being a landowner appears to put the poor black family more firmly in control of their own destiny. This difference is real, conceptual, moral and a survival necessity. For instance, as poor as we were, we never once went hungry, because we alway grew our own food, even the kids had their own gardens and fruit trees. In fact we only went into the nearest town, Lonoke, Arkansas, a few times a year, mostly to get "Light Bread" and "Corn Flakes," both considered luxury items. Hog-killing was a community affair, as was attending Church and barter among church members and neighbors. Except for occasional dependence on ones neighbors, the all-black community of Scott, Arkansas was completely self-sufficient.

In fact, the patriarch of our family, the late Mr. Silas Brown, a veteran of WW-I and thus came back from Europe speaking a bit of pigeon French, even had a sorghum mill -- a mule-driven contraption (ordered from Sears and Roebuck) used to produce molasses. As I remember, a five-gallon tin of molasses was like hard currency in rural areas in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Also, my uncle, the late Silas Brown Jr. earned enough money selling "earth worms" as fishing bait to buy himself a beautiful black 1947 Coupe Ford, which was the envy of the entire region.

The other difference, and this is the most important one of all, is that we never had to come in contact with any white people; and in fact everyone in the community of Scott, Arkansas, went out of their way to avoid them. So, this author's stories of sexual contact between the races, sounds like science-fiction to me? As does the notion that they, a black family, had no idea how to fend for themselves? (Go figure?)

The readers of this book thus should be aware that just because blacks were poor and trampled-upon by whites in the rural south, we were not all the same. Many of us were not victims of whites because we avoided them like the plagued and then survived quite well without them. By all means read Lehmann's book. Two stars
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarahana
Thus a civil rights advocate was born.

I read this book seven years ago, on a whim, because I was wanting to understand why Southerners were especially proud of their heritage when there was so much suffering among its own people, especially its blacks.

Ann Moddy lived a life that most whites would be ashamed of, but that many blacks endured. This is a part of American history that mainstreem history books seldom cover in any detail and leave to the "Black Studies" department.

Moody lived her life struggling for identity, struggling for change, struggling for advancement. She made something of herself and has never looked back. (I read somewhere that she doesn't like to talk about her growing-up years and has lived a life of seclusion.). She can only be admired for what she has made of herself.

Moody never once expresses hurt. All she wanted was justice for all. She left Mississippi with more than a tinge of anger.

This book should be required reading for all social studies classes. It is engrossing without being sentimental or overly emotional (and it certainly is not "girly" at all.) For anyone, regardless of color, gender or legal status, this should be a must-read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
albert
This was a book that I was required to read for my college history class. I'm usually not big on books that are required, so I decided to get a headstart on this one so I could keep up in class. The book starts a little slow, but by the time she gets to about middle school, and especially high school, I found myself unable to put the book down. The imagery is amazing. As Anne gets a little depressed and unmotivated, I could feel myself become unmotivated and read the book less. I felt ackward reading about the situation with her mother when she and her sister were living together, you can just feel the tension in the dialogue. This is a really good book to read, whether it's a requirement or not because it is full of a lot of personal insights.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
atul purohit
This book is one of the the best books to help you to REALLY understand the Civil Rights Movement and what it meant to be black in the south during that era. Anne Moody lets the reader into her life in a remarkable way and helps her audience comprehend what the south was like (not only for the black population, but for black women as well) and why Civil Rights workers, like herself, put up with so much for their cause. It is very hard for me to put into words what a great book this is-it will open your eyes to history even if you don't like history or reading I guarantee you will LOVE this book! Definitely a MUST READ.

Other books that compliment this book well, if you're interested in the subject are: Passing, Quicksand, and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bethany rudd
I had to read this book for AP. HIST. as extra credit and I fell in love. I just could not put the book down. Didn't buy it from here but would definitely recommend. Since it has a nice plot the history aspect of it just sort of camouflages.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rupambika
"Coming of Age in Mississippi" is about Anne Moody (Essie Mae), and her struggle to be accepted in a society that is racially split. The book begins with Anne as a small child growing up in a small town in Mississippi, enduring unfathomable poverty and trials. Although Anne excelled in school, she faced the grueling task or raising her many siblings and working to provide food for the family. After becoming a teenager, Anne began to understand that the world she lived in was very segregated and that to the white community, she was considered to be inferior. Anne was not willing to accept that she was supposed to sit back and do nothing about the racism that was consuming the nation, so she went to college where she earned her degree and became heavily involved with the local anti-racism groups. Anne continued to encourage blacks to register to vote and to stand up for their rights.

A specific image of racial consciousness Anne portrays in her memoir is when she is very young and her mother takes her to the movies one Saturday afternoon. While her mother was standing outside talking to her friends, Anne saw one of her white neighbors she played with standing inside the downstairs lobby. Anne rushed in and began talking to the young girl. As soon as Anne's mother saw what she was doing, she ran inside and began yelling at Anne for being there and dragged her out the door. Her mother explained to her that the downstairs lobby was for whites only, and that blacks had to use the side entrance and sit upstairs in the balconies. This was when Anne began to realize that there was a difference, at least to society, between skin colors.

I would highly recommend this book, especially to a high school student or class. I think it deals with many issues that our society is still dealing with today, and the memoir gives a personal account of what it was really like to live in a time of total white supremacy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hana schuck
I read this book while attending Hunter College. This book is one that I will never forget. I will be forever grateful for her contributions to the struggle for Civil Rights. It made you feel the terror that several African Americans felt while living in Mississippi during the 40's and 50's. Ms. Moody inspired me to be strong in the face of danger and opposition at all costs. Ms. Moody's accurate portrayal of life in the South gives the reader a chance to understand the inner turmoil she experienced while attempting to make changes in the Jim Crow South. She faced difficulties with her family as well as the whites who lived in her town. She exerted strength at a time when most African Americans were barely looked upon as members of society. She preservered despite the racial bigotry that she faced on a daily basis. She managed to obtain scholarships to college to improve her life and the lives of her family members. She vividly describes the consequences of African Americans who chose to oppose the Jim Crow Laws in her hometown. She later emerged as an activist in the early demonstrations at Woolworth lunch counters that refused service to African American patrons. She faced eminent danger from the Ku Klux Klan due to her dedication to the Civil Rights Movement. Finally she portrayed the damaging effects of white supremacy on African American's self image, by noting the conflicts between darker skinned African Americans and lighter skinned African Americans. This is a truely influential book that will offer the reader a history lesson on what it felt to be involved in one of the most important moments in American history.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
r james
I do not know how I stumbled upon this great autobiography, especially since it is very rare that I read autobiographies. However, I was engrossed in the book. I wanted to continue to read until the end. I thought the book was insightful and very thought provoking. Moody did a wonderful job describing The Movement and all that it involved. Although I was born in the late 70's I still found it interesting to read about something that still affects us in some way. Moody writes about a time period when African Americans struggled in hopes that a change would come, and in some instances it did. During Moody's time African Americans were trying to overcome many obstacles and we are still trying to overcome some of those same obstacles today. Nonetheless, I think this is a great read, especially for those who were not part of the "Struggle." I would recommend this to anyone, Black or White. Moody did a great job with her work.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
danielle schwegman
Moody's Coming of Age in Mississippi is a reflection of the struggles she went through during the civil rights movement. It is an honest and inspirational novel, containing many of the famous events that occured during this time period. Because Moody holds nothing back while writing the story of her life, the reader can truely relate to her personality and struggles that she overcame. The book is broken down into four sections: Childhood, High School, College, and The Movement, all of which contain vivid descriptions of what life was like for a black female growing up in Mississippi. Strengths Moody brings to her novel include her use of emotion, which in turn makes the reader feel part of her story. You will laugh out loud as you picture some of the stories she tells such as getting baptized in a lake full of mud and manure as cows moo in the background. At times you will also want to cry as you understand the pain that many people went through such as being afraid to sleep at night or walk alone in their own neightborhood, all in attempt to get equality where it is today. Although she leaves the readers with a sense of hopelessness at the end, it is apparent that her work has made a huge impact for blacks and whites today. I think Moody concluded her book in that manner because she realized that although racial equality may get better, the races will never be truely equal.

I do recommend this book for anyone who is interested in The Civil Rights Movement, I read it for my college English class, and enjoyed reading about the people whom we had studied prior to starting this book. It also made the movement much more realistic.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
declineda
If 'Arnie' is the "Terminator", the Anne is the Elucidator. If that word is not an everyday noun for you, good then look it up, it has more of an impact that way! But really, the way that she explains the events, in rich,first person detail, is both entertaining and saddening. It is filled with the events of her life, told in a way that makes it a pure joy. She does not put you on an historical linear timeline filled with sappy, hate filled recollection, no she lures you into a colorful story, her talent pulls you into her world and you find yourself growing up with her.

That is the best aspect of this book. I grew with her. I started this one as 'just another civil rights book', which are a genre all their own, and for good cause. But I will be honest, I can't always relate to that type of literature, and I am no racist.I freely admit,my ignorant perception of other people's emotion. I was just out of touch with the emotions that some people may feel. Well, Anne eloquently enlightened me. I took a brief walk in her shoes, from the safety of my comfy world, so there are still depths of what she felt I may never know.

I reccomend this book to anyone. But, more importantly I say to all those open minded folks who,sometimes just feel out of touch with one of their black friends, or just maybe want to experience a myriad of emotions, that one person felt growing up in a difficult time, in a difficult place and painted a masterpiece of literatre with her colorful memories. Sometimes, the color was dark, at other times they were bright. Sometimes, it was just not clear, more abstract in nature and worth reflecting upon.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rick hockman
Basically the autobiography novel is about a young girl who grows up as the daughter of a family who's been slaves longer than the oldest relative has been alive. She goes through times where cotton is scarce and cruelty is not. Her parents leave her and her siblings behind with the intention of safety instead receiving mistreatment from one of her on race. She then grows up, not trusting either side because of the white's hatred and the black's ignorance to try to improve the situation. When she grows up she becomes a part of the activist group against slavery and the conditions there are even worse there than when she was growing up.

This story was provocative and impelling because when you read it, it was so cruel it sounded unreal. You got lost in the scary truth of the whole situation and you unconsciously analyzed it as fake or false.

Some of the strengths of this book include the author's ability to make the book clear and understanding even though she jumps through large lengths of time throughout the story. The ending is also great. Considering she wrote this book at age twenty eight, she hadn't experienced the freedom of blacks yet. So the final sentence is while she is pondering what will happen to her race in the future. "I wonder. I really wonder."

I didn't really dislike any parts of the book. It's hard to write a review on autobiographies, because its tougher to judge the writing of someone whose actually been through what they are writing about. I thought she explained herself and her situation well and couldn't have done any better.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
poppy
Anne Moody's memoir about growing up African American puts you essentially into her own shoes. From living in a small shack with newspapers on the walls as wallpaper to witnessing Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech in Washington D.C. She details the Civil Rights movement as she sees it happening before her. She really discovers the difference between blacks and whites as she works for racist ladies for mere nickels and dimes.

A very early turning point for Anne happened early in her childhood. She first realizes the differences between her skin and other white children. It takes her a while to really understand why. But once she realizes that everything they have is essentially better she gets rightfully discontent.

Everyone should read this book and others like it. Just to understand a real struggle in American history. It should at least make you appreciate what many people fought for that you have now. It'll make you think, and maybe change you a little bit. No one should be exempt from reading this very good autobiography. If you are unfamiliar with the Civil Rights movement, then don't waste any time and learn about it. Read this book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
velda
Anne Moody's account of her childhood and the enormous amount of racial hatred she encountered in the early part of her life is absolutely heart rending. Moody was one of the participants in the famous lunch counter sit-ins at Woolworth lunch counters in Mississippi. Moody's account of that day, as well as many others, sent a chill down my spine. This is truly an amazing account of racism and the struggle toward freedom.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deb stapleton
"Coming of Age in Mississippi" was about how it was to grow up as a black girl, and poor at the same time, in the 1940s and 1950s in rural Mississippi. The book speaks of Anne's family, and how difficult it was being black and poor, to provide for the growing family. It tells of Anne's college experiences, especially her involvement in CORE and SNCC. It sheds light on discrimination (especially what she endured) while attending college. It shows how all of these events she endured shaped who she is today. It is a lesson in racial equality and love for one another.

The best part of the book for me was just the rawness of it. It is truly told from the eyes of a young girl. I loved Anne's spirit and tenacity to never give up on what she believed in (civil rights for black Americans).

I certainly recommend this book to anyone who is wanting to learn about what the movement was all about. I recommend it to people of all ages (who can read well of course), especially white people who may be ignorant of the suffering of black Americans during that time period.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
marley
In several books I've read regarding Southern History and slavery, this story actually surpised me. Without giving much detail, she becomes famous overnight. Ironic, but to drive into Jackson, Ms. you would never guess just how dangerous a place with was, in fact, all along the Delta and Mississippi was dangerous. She's a born fighter. Good book, takes off towards the end.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
meenakshi ray
Coming of Age in Mississippi is a detailed memoir of a young black woman growing up in the segregated south. Anne Moody takes the reader from her earliest memories of living in impoverished conditions on a cotton farm to becoming an activist in the civil rights movement. She achieves this with great detail and sometimes with a little humor.

One of the most memorable moments in the book is when she recounts her baptism. She illustrates the event with amazing details, everything from her clothing to the smell in the air. Not only was the event a little entertaining, it recounted Anne's budding independence.

This book is great for anyone interested in American history, but especially for teenagers. Although the subject matter is a little heavy at times, teens should have no problem comprehending the message.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mythili
Anne Moody expresses herself vividly, and the reader can't help bonding with her. This book is excellent, and almost impossible to put down! I actually missed school and work to finish reading this book!
Every high school teen should be required to read this book; anyone who hasn't is missing out on one of the greatest literary works of all times!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jennifer sullivan
Anne Moody did a superb job of relating her experiences in the battle for civil rights. Written very skillfully, her story brought to life the fears and feelings of those who marched the streets and faced the angry mobs. I hope this book becomes very well known and is still read by Americans years and years into the future. A true 'must read.'
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jaber
Anne Moody had to grow up fast and learn how to help provide for her family at a really young age. She had to learn the ways of the South and realize that life for the African-Americans were unfair and unjust. With all of the responsibility that she had to endure she still managed to make A's in school and get scholarships to college. While working with SNCC she risked her life to stand up for what she believed in.

The strengths in this book are the fact that she was thorough in telling about her experiences. The one think I didn't like was after she join in the Movement she didn't let the readers know about how the rest of her college experiences was like. I would have liked to have known this.

I would recomend this book to anyone who loves true stories and would like to read about African-American struggles in the 50's and 60's. This book would also be good for lesiure. I had to read this in my english class and I really enjoyed this book
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
monja
This is a book about a young girl who educates herself about civil rights. Anne Moody is a young girl who grew up in Mississippi. Throughout her life she realizes the struggles of African Americans in this country. She feels the need that something should be done. She takes action with the NAACP.

My favorite part of the book was when she was younger and she would go fishing with her uncle. She would also be taking care of her younger sister and brother. She seemed very happy during this period of her life. This was also a time in her life were she did not have to experience any racial disturbinces.

I would recommend this book to a high school audience. High school would be a good time to learn about the civil rights. That would be the right age for someone to learn about it because, in high school you are old enough to absorb the struggles blacks went through. This is a astonishing book. I would give this book two big thumbs up.

Hitesh Patel
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erin patterson
This book is very moving and touching. Anne Moody's autobiography, "Coming of Age in Mississippi" is a wonderful book that tells the story of Anne's struggles growing up poor and black in the rural south. The author captures the reader's attention in the first few paragraphs using some slang dialect. We had vivid pictures in our minds of what was happening in the story through all of the use of imagery. There is a vivid image of a "rotten wood two room shack" as you read the pages. This book is well written and easy to read. It also helps one realize how many small steps it takes for ones dreams of a wonderful future to come true. We would love to meet Anne Moody, and we are thanking her for enabling us to get a glimpse of her life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cameron hunter
In the well-written autobiography, Coming Of Age In Mississippi, Anne Moody describes what it is like to grow up black in Mississippi. Her experiences growing up formulated her outlook on life. Born in 1940 Anne grew up during the thick of the Civil Rights movement. She had to deal with prejudice from blacks and whites alike. Throughout the book Anne struggles with her feelings on what she believes in. Along with that, she must deal with the hardships of being poor and the outcome of her actions. As a result of her struggles a hero is born. Anne uses her heroism and strong will to make things happen. The book is well written and conveys the life experiences and feelings of a black girl as seen through the author's own reflections.
The book Coming Of Age In Mississippi is separated into 4 different sections that each tell about a different time in Anne's life. The first section of the book deals with Anne's childhood. When Anne was 4 her father left her mother and younger sister. After her father left her mother had another baby, by a solider named Raymond, whom she eventually married. When Anne was 9 years old she got her first job sweeping an old white lady's porch and sidewalks. She got paid 75 cents and 2 gallons of milk a week. Anne stopped working for the lady when the lady had her cleaning the whole house (p.44). Throughout her childhood Anne learned just what she must do to survive in Mississippi. Her experiences as a child set the guidelines for the rest of her life. It wasn't until Anne started high school that she started hating the prejudice Negroes received. "I was 15 years old when I began to hate people... I hated all the whites who were responsible for the countless murders... But I also hated Negroes. I hated them for not standing up and doing something about the murders." (p. 129) It was because of this feeling that Anne started to question the way she was treated. She started pushing away from her comfort zone and searching for what she believed was right. During her senior year of high school Anne left her mothers house for good and went to live with her father. With this action she started to sever the ties that bound her to her family and the old way of life. In college Anne put her newfound independence to use. She started a boycott against the cafeteria food because it was unsanitary. "We don't eat until he, (President Buck), gets rid of Miss Harris, (the cook), and that leak is fixed." (p. 235) This was said by Anne in an attempt to rile up her fellow students. Throughout college Anne started doing more things to help Negroes win equal rights. For example she worked on and off with organizations such as the SNCC and the NAACP that promoted equal rights for blacks. Towards the end of her college education Anne jumped feet first into "the movement". While working in the movement Anne experienced horrors she had only heard about back home. She dealt with prejudice and threats in all shapes and forms from all different people. One of the first encounters of prejudice she had while working in the movement happened during her first sit-in. "The white students, (in the store), started chanting all kinds of anti-Negro slogans... The rest of the seats except the three we were occupying had been roped off to prevent others from sitting down. A couple of the boys took one end of the rope and made it into a hangman's noose. Several attempts were made to put it around our necks." (p. 265) Despite many experiences worse than the sit-in Anne continued to push for what she believed was right. Through her work she gave herself and the other people around her a reason to live. Anne finally figured out that there was no special secret to being happy and rich. It comes from what you do with your life. This realization completed her transformation from girl to heroine.
Throughout the book Anne Moody tells her story in such a way that it captivates the reader. The book is not just an autobiography but a true story of a young heroine. The qualities of a heroine are not as noticeable in the beginning of the book. As Anne's life progresses the reader sees those qualities start to grow and flourish. Through the development of Anne's faults and virtues the reader is drawn into the fight against racial discrimination. Throughout the book you are fighting for what Anne believes in. You are so drawn into her actions that you flinch when someone is treated unfairly and cheer when an action is just. Moreover the book grabs your interest and holds onto it until the very last sentence.
During Anne's life she dealt with hardships unimaginable to most people. Due to her experiences she gained the qualities of a heroine. Using her memories Anne Moody lets the reader jump into the shoes of a young black girl growing up in Mississippi. While reading this book the reader gets to feel what Anne felt growing up. The way the book is written makes the reader want to go out and help people who are in the same predicament as Anne.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cristy
Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody, is a book about Moody's life. She shares her hardships growing up, and tells about her fight for freedom. She learns at a young age that blacks in the south were not consider equal to whites. Moody questions this knowledge and as she grows older she begins to fight back.

One of the most meaningful parts of the book, is when Moody's teacher Mrs. Rice inform her about the NAACP. She starts to understand that she is not the only black person, who feels they are being treated unfairly. That is the moment in the book, where Moody is really inspired to start fighting for civil rights.

I highly recommend this book. If you like factual events about United States history, you'll love this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
n l hoffmann
Anne Moody's 'Coming of Age in Mississippi' is a wonderful 'coming of age' story. We follow young Essie Mae as she grows up black in a segregated south of the 1960's. The book starts out quite slow. She begins with her earliest memories as a 4-year old living with her parents and 3-month old sister, Adeline. As she grows up, we experience with her the curiosity, confusion, and anger that comes with arbitrary racial hatred. Essie Mae walks through life fearful of every turn. As she becomes a teenager, and then a woman, she is angered by the treatment of blacks all over the south. Not only is she mad at the whites for treating blacks this way, but she is mad at the blacks for sitting back and taking it without doing anything about it. Essie Mae lives a very hard, a-typical life in the 1960's. However, going through these hard times made her become a very typical woman.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ladawn
Quite frankly, this book is one of those instances where the idea sometimes feels better than actually reading the book. Don't get me wrong, at times the book was incredibly powerful - and knowing that Anne Moody went through these trials is remarkable considering that these events really occurred not so long ago. But the powerful building in the beginning falters towards the end. In fact, the last 150 pages or so are a blur of college, shopping, chatting with girlfriends and small protests. You really don't feel as connected to her struggles as a regular college student when you've just read 200 pages about her awful and scarring childhood. The way the book ends right before the civil rights movement really ramps up is indicative of the kind of let down feeling I got after reading it. Had I stopped at page 200 or so, maybe I would have given it a 3, but it got too bogged down, and quite frankly boring towards the end. Thats not even mentioning the letdown about where the book actually ends given its context in history.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lucio freitas
The beginning of the book was strange to me. Once I got into the flow of the writing I started to enjoy it. Once Essie/Anne hits the movements though, she comes off as a zealot and expects everyone to feel and do the same as she does. There are many emotions in this book. The last part of the book was a bit tedious and repititious, then hits a crescendo, and then falls flat. I was disappointed with the way Anne Moody ends the book, but it's still a good read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lesleybear
Coming of Age in Mississippi is a well written autobiographical novel that depicts the rough childhood and impowering adolesence and adulthood of Anne Moody. Anne was born to poor black share croppers in Mississippi. Throughout her book she shares stories of her struggles and the struggles of people throughout the south and throughout the trials and tribulations of the Civil Rights Movement. Her detailed accounts of an abusive cousin, a lonely mother, and what it was like to be black in the south give you a realistic affect as if you were watching her story unfold before your eyes. I highly recommend this book and feel that not only will you not be able to put it down but it will also impact you on a deeper level. A definite must read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melissa febos
This book was by far the best one I've read all year. I loved the story-telling approach she took to the book. It was an eye-opener to me how the blacks lived in so much fear of the whites. I loved how almost emotionless Moody was about writing the story. She really put the facts out there. I finished this 400-some page book in less than two days. Highly recommend!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
khairul hezry
This is by far one of the best books I have ever read. "Of Coming Age In Mississippi" shows segregation and Civil Rights hardships like it has never been shown before. You feel Anne Moody's heart break and understand segregation how it really was in the deep south. HIGHLY recommended to anyone who wants to open their eyes to another cultural period and understand it for what it really was. It is real, heartbreaking, and impossible to put down.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
angela pomeroy
Coming of Age in Mississippi was a great book. It begins with Anne being a very young girl living with both her mother and father on a plantation. As the story progresses, Anne herself moves on in life. Living in many different places and experiencing many life altering events.

The best part of the book for me was her high school years. I like the fact that this young girl coming from such a poor background could become so popular and even be elected homecoming queen. She also played basketball at this time while continuing to work and keep up her studies. She was very inspiring.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a good book to read, but not only that to actually learn some things you might have never known.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
apop
This book is great. I was drawn into Moody's life story immediately. It brought forth so many emotions, I shed tears and shared smiles with her every step of the way. It made me think of eveything we have today and how far we've come, along with how far we have to go.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nishith
This book should be required reading for every high school student . It develops an understanding of conditions in the south and of the civil rights movement more clearly than any history book on the subject. If you need
enlightenment or clarification on that era please read this book. It is a page turner.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
phyl
Anne Moody doesn't hold anything back in "Coming of Age in Mississippi." She really lets you into her reactions to the incredible events she went through in her life. From first discovering black/white seperation in public, to realizing that she could make a difference in the Civil Rights Movement, you will really get a first hand experience. I would definitely reccomend this book to anyone with an interest at all in the civil rights movement. Her descriptive rhetoric and detailed thoughts make the autobiography a joy to just sit and read. A+ Nathan Galaske
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
douglas
Never have I read a book that had such an effect on me. Anne Moody's words truly taught me what it was like growing up in the south during the civil rights movement. Every history class I have taken has neglected to give me real knowledge to take home with me. But the teacher that assigned me Coming of Age in Missippi had something truly educational in mind. I recommend this book DAILY to the patients I work with. It is one I will continue to recommend and read often.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
edward mcmullen
I read this book in my African American Studies class, and I loved it. Moody has a real good way of describing and telling her story. The hardships and struggles to get rid of the oppression placed on the blacks during this time is captured wonderfully, you feel like you're right there marching and fighting with them. A must read for everyone, every color!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joshua stewart
About 8 years ago, I decided to begin reading some classics and this was one of the first I chose. Because of it, I now like to read anything I can get my hands on that involves slavery or the racial problems of these past hundred and fifty years or so. The emotion that exudes from this book was, at times, overpowering. It was awesome and I wish I had read it earlier.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
angel burleson
We are a group af students from Denmark who have actually read this book to know a little bit more of everyday life in the rural South and how some of the blacks fought for their rights.
We did find the book very interesting because it told us in detail about a black girl living in very poor conditions, how she grew up and how the children were left at home alone because the parents had to work. Later on how she managed to go to college without having any money, and finally on how she became a Civil right activist. It really told us how it was growing up black in Mississippi from the forties to sixties. But also seen from a historical point of view the book gave us a very good description of the historic events happening at that time like the Civil Rights march as well as the murders of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers and John F Kennedy.
As an autobiography you feel it so real and personal and the author Anne Moody has actually been through all these troubles and racial problems. Growing up in so poor conditions and all the hate the blacks felt everywhere must have been awful but Anne was a girl who had the power of trying to fight against it.
Sitting in Denmark we find it quite difficult to understand how badly the blacks were really treated but we think this book gave us a good idea and we will continue to investigate this very exciting but also horryfying subject.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stephan wintner
It shows the grass-roots movement of activist, and it also illustrates the horrid conditions of life for blacks in the South brought on by poverty and racism. It's raw, the language is often strong, but it is a wondrous document.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
naeem
I bellieve that this book is very good. I think that every high school student should read and get educated. I liked this book because of the way it was writen. As though you were there with her. Going threw the things she went threw. I recommend this book to anyone who's looking for something they can sit down and read and get into. It's something that'll grab you as soon as you pick it up.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
joel byersdorfer
Thinking that this was going to end up being an annoying book report book, I was pleasantly surprised. I ended up staying home on a Friday night just to finish the book. I have to admit a few parts get slightly long, but overall it's a great book. Anne Moody writes well and clearly. It tells a lot about black history and I suggest reading it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
thomas w
About 8 years ago, I decided to begin reading some classics and this was one of the first I chose. Because of it, I now like to read anything I can get my hands on that involves slavery or the racial problems of these past hundred and fifty years or so. The emotion that exudes from this book was, at times, overpowering. It was awesome and I wish I had read it earlier.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shelly n
We are a group af students from Denmark who have actually read this book to know a little bit more of everyday life in the rural South and how some of the blacks fought for their rights.
We did find the book very interesting because it told us in detail about a black girl living in very poor conditions, how she grew up and how the children were left at home alone because the parents had to work. Later on how she managed to go to college without having any money, and finally on how she became a Civil right activist. It really told us how it was growing up black in Mississippi from the forties to sixties. But also seen from a historical point of view the book gave us a very good description of the historic events happening at that time like the Civil Rights march as well as the murders of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers and John F Kennedy.
As an autobiography you feel it so real and personal and the author Anne Moody has actually been through all these troubles and racial problems. Growing up in so poor conditions and all the hate the blacks felt everywhere must have been awful but Anne was a girl who had the power of trying to fight against it.
Sitting in Denmark we find it quite difficult to understand how badly the blacks were really treated but we think this book gave us a good idea and we will continue to investigate this very exciting but also horryfying subject.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kelly vasquez
It shows the grass-roots movement of activist, and it also illustrates the horrid conditions of life for blacks in the South brought on by poverty and racism. It's raw, the language is often strong, but it is a wondrous document.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melanie berlin
I bellieve that this book is very good. I think that every high school student should read and get educated. I liked this book because of the way it was writen. As though you were there with her. Going threw the things she went threw. I recommend this book to anyone who's looking for something they can sit down and read and get into. It's something that'll grab you as soon as you pick it up.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
john doe
Thinking that this was going to end up being an annoying book report book, I was pleasantly surprised. I ended up staying home on a Friday night just to finish the book. I have to admit a few parts get slightly long, but overall it's a great book. Anne Moody writes well and clearly. It tells a lot about black history and I suggest reading it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
annie lin
The book was okay. At times it was powerful and at others it was so boring. she presented a lot of events in the book that were not central to the main theme. I know it's about her life, but a lot of things were really pointless if you ask me. I sympathized a lot with her, but i really did not like the book. Yawn!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
conor brennan
Coming of Age in Mississippi is the life story of Anne Moody. This book vividly portrays what the black community fought against in the civil rights movement. It describes black life in the early 50s- from being poor to participating in civil rights organizations. It also allows the reader to fully comprehend what it is like to grow up in a broken home while dealing with the issues of racism, prejudice, and segregation.

The most entertaining portion of the book occurs when Anne is growing up. She experiences several forms of racism, which shows her transition into the activist she will later become. In this section("Childhood"), she expresses her thoughts about the situations in such a personal way that you almost begin to care for her as if she's someone you know. Overall, this section is undoubtedly the best part of the memoir.

This book recied a score of 2 out of 5 by me. While the first portion is full of life and excitement, the other two(especially "The Movement")are dull and drag in such a way that it almost sounds repetative. It is also a large disapointment that the end of the story does not finish along with the movement. Instead, it ends with the trip to the march on Washington. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to truely comprehend the strife blacks had to endure to gain their freedom from a racist society. However, I would not recommend this to anyone who wants a "fun read". I personally consider it more of an educational story rather than one for entertainment.

Take my opinion with a grain of salt. Opinions vary. You may find it extremely entertaining, but I supose that depends on one's personal interests.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
daniela pineda
I am a 43 year old white woman. I was born, raised and still living in the South. Everyone needs to read this book. I could describe it with big, long, important adjectives but that's not really necessary. Anyone who loves to read and learn should read this book. Ms. Anne Moody is an outstanding human being and I am glad and thankful to have known her story. May her heart be blessed forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ashling
THE FIRST PAGE OF THE BOOK STARTS ABSORBING YOU U FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO STOP READING THE BOOK TILL THE LAST PAGE. SHE HAS NARRATED HER LIFE SO WELL THAT WHILE READING THE BOOK YOU CAN IMAGINE YOURSELF AS A CAMERA AND JUST RECORDING EVERYTHING THATS BEEN GOING ON WITH MOODY FROM THE AGE OF FOUR TILL SHE MOVES UP NORTH.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
disd123
This book was ok. sort of classical. You get to see what it is like to live in the old days and that was pretty cool. I read this as part of writing assignment for my school. It is so, but you learn what it was like back then. Moody had a ruff when her parents separated and her mother gets another man and has more kids by him and she had to work like an adult to help feed the family. It was an interesting story
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
juleah tabak
I am so disappointed that I wasted my time on this book. It is so full of outrageous statements that could not possibly be true. Ms. Moody relates alleged facts from as far back as 3 or 4 years old and tells them word for word as if they are the truth. Ridiculous!!! Her mother leaving a toddler and an infant in the care of an 8 year old troubled lying youngster who she claims beats her and her mother believes only the 8 year old's stories when he claims the little girl burned the house. Tsk, Tsk, Ms. Moody - this could have been a good story about the beginning of the civil rights movement and all the good that many of those mentioned did. Instead it is made into a fantasy filled with lies and contradictions. I did not want to give it even one star but there is no option for none. At one point she says her mother always came up the hill from a day's work in the field "full of sunshine and laughter", but then tells tales of the unkind actions and words of that same sunshine filled mother. How utterly outlandish this book is. Don't be like me and waste time reading it!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
synchro
The pain you can feel on reading this is almost palpable.Half a century is a drop of water in the ocean of time. My grandmother did tell us about things gone past but this book really puts it all in perspective.

Awesome book
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
swapnil
This book is an extremely well written book full of emotion and truth. This book gives a disturbing, but true account of growing up in a racist southern town. Although oppressed, Anne Moody brilliantly displays her pride, courage, and determination to overcome the obsticles that she was raised in. This familiar part of our nations history is seen through the perspective of an innocent girl living our this horror, therefore giving today's society an intricate look into the racism and oppression of the past. Valerie and Alison
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jennifer phillips
Coming of Age in Mississippi is an extremely well written book full of emotion and truth. This book gives a disturbing, but true account of growing up in a racist southern town. Although oppressed, Anne Moody brilliantly displays her pride, courage, and determination to overcome the circumstances she grew up in. This familiar part of our nation's history is seen through the perspective of an innocent girl living out this horror, therefore giving today's society an intricate look into racism and oppression.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
rgreen
don't read this. Stick to Mariani, Vendler and Brunner. Leibowitz loves Leibowitz loving Leibowitz--really--he writes about himself more than Hart. Oh--and I know, it's not Herb's fault, but--man, there are dozens and dozens of typos.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dorothy
This book is very moving and touching. Anne Moody's autobiography, "Coming of Age in Mississippi" is a wonderful book that tells the story of Anne's struggles growing up poor and black in the rural south. The author captures the reader's attention in the first few paragraphs using some slang dialect. We had vivid pictures in our minds of what was happening in the story through all of the use of imagery. There is a vivid image of a "rotten wood two room shack" as you read the pages. This book is well written and easy to read. It also helps one realize how many small steps it takes for ones dreams of a wonderful future to come true. We would love to meet Anne Moody, and we are thanking her for enabling us to get a glimpse of her life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
teleute
I had to read this book as part of a summer project for my sophmore Global History class. As the trend goes, I thought this was going to be another boring book telling me stuff that I had already read or heard about. Boy was I wrong! After getting through a sluggish and rather tedious Part I, things really started to get interesting from then on. As a child of the nineties, I was never really exposed to the hardships that african americans suffered during this period. But after reading about it, and learning a little bit about it, I have become more interested in a troubled and confused period of time in our history. Though it takes a fair amount of time to read, it is well worth it and definately thought provoking. I would reccomend this book to anyone who will read it.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
alexis ayala
I have no idea what book the other reviewers were reading but it was not the same one I read. Anne Moody portrays herself as the only Enlightened person in the south at this time. She criticizes all whites for being racists and all blacks for being "Uncle Toms". Somehow I believe that this is the way she prefers to see her life and times rather than deal with the truth.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jamie rich
I was assigned to read this book over the summer for my tenth grade English class. I thought, "Great!! Just another one of THOSE books!!" My plan was to listen to an old Bob Dylan album and 'get the picture' about the Civil Rights Movement of the nineteen sixties. Well, I have since realized that the Movement was much more, or at least for a Negro woman from Mississippi named Anne Moody. I have lived in suburban New York my whole life and have not seen such severe racism as which Ms. Moody went through in the nineteen forties, fifties and sixties. Even though there are examples all around us, we choose to ignore them. This novel has taught me to open my eyes!! Ms. Moody's struggle to make America live up to its creed of "all men are created equal" is remarkably startling as it is the chilling truth.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katie beitz
I had to read this book for my history class and after all the other books I read, I felt that this was going to be just as boring as the rest. I have never been so wrong. I couldn't put this book down. Although this was not an adventure novel or a mystery I was still getting anxious at certain moments. Such included when she was threatened by the KKK and when she found out about Emytt Tyll. We can all learn a lot from her experiences. It made me realize that we cannot have true freedom unless we are willing to fight for it no matter the cost.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nicki gustafson
Anne Moody's, Coming of Age in Mississippi, is an in depth autobiographical essay about the life that Moody led. Starting from her childhood years until the years that she was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, Moody tells the story of her life using some very vivid details. She tells of how it was like growing up poor in the rural south of Mississippi. Through this book, Moody gives accounts of the issues of her time. This book raises many issues. Above all these issues, racism is the greatest one of them all. From her childhood years up until her adult years, Moody tells of the racism that existed during her time from police brutality all the way down to the lynching of Blacks in the south. It is the issue of racism that leads Anne Moody down the path that she took in life. Beginning from her participation in the Movement to the development of ideas about the movement and its leaders. This book is filled with excitement, drama and tear-jerking scenes that reveals the truth of Racism in the South. Moody's use of words and vivid expressions compel the reader to feel, touch, hear, and see what she is trying to confer. Reading about how she saw the world at the time allows me to understand more of what really happened on a more personal level. Even though today racism is not as visible as it was thirty years ago, I know it still exists. Maybe one day, we as American citizens will be able to come together as one. Live in unity as brothers and sisters. Taken from the Negro Spiritual, We Shall Over Come, we all know that: "The truth will make us free, The truth will make us free, The truth will make us free some day. Oh, deep in my heart I do believe The truth will make us free some day" (384).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tom mathes
This book was a great asset to me. I've never heard of her before now but this book still touched me in a special way. I was just hoping for a better and more informative ending, but overall it was a very good book. If Anne is still alive please write more, because I absolutly love this book.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
terry mulcahy
We read this book in school - Freshman Accel English. I can't say I'd ever recommend this to anyone, unless they were researching boring, straightforwward books lacking any eloquence or flavor. Moody tells her story without any emotion, which I guess is good because it isn't sappy, but it still manages to be asinine. If this book is being read to see the black viewpoint in the South, try something like Stuck Rubber Baby...Anything else really. Maybe I'm biased because I just didn't like how her Mom complained about being poor but squeezed out the kids at a rate of 1.5 per chapter. Sorry if this offends anyone, I know it isn't Moody's fault that her life was really boring, but I just wish stupid and poor people wouldn't have 10 kids when they can't afford to feed 2.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
michael
I quit early on and here's why.

Anne's mother leaves her 6 month old infant and Anne (who is "almost 4") in the hands of her (anne's mother) 8 y/o brother, then later her 12y/o brother, for 12+ hours every day. According to Anne they never took care of them and in fact took off as soon as her parents were out of sight.

Who's feeding the 6 month old for those 12+ hours? They were living on a farm with lots of other black families. Surely the women had some kind of communal child care system going. Where's the wet nurse? I don't believe it.

Same happens with the next infant. Mom's never home. All male babysitters. One male adult would take all three kids (ages 5, 2.5 and a little over a year old) HUNTING with him in the swamps! I don't believe it. I don't believe Anne Moody.

How is it that Anne goes to school at age 5 but her mom's 8 y/o and 12y/o brothers don't?

In Anne Moody's story the boys and some men stayed home and babysat while the girls go to school/work. Now I always thought it was just the opposite. Girls usually stayed home and tended to their younger siblings, cleaned, cooked etc., while the boys if they didn't go to school, worked along side the men.

How is it that little 5 y/o Anne walks 2 miles up and 2 miles back to school everyday all by herself. Just try and picture that in your mind. A tiny little threadbare 5 y/o girl all alone walking 4 miles a day in the rain, humid heat or cold. Then hiding in the schools outhouse for as long as she can because she doesn't like school or the teacher! I don't see it. I don't believe it. Four miles is nothing for a healthy adult/teen/kid but a 5 y/o "baby"? I don't think they'd have the mind to do it nor the legs.

How is it that when Anne is 6 and back at school, her mom just leaves the 3.5 y/o and 1.5 y/o all by themselves, all day at the house, no babysitter? I don't believe it. Was Anne's mother mentally retarded? They're living in town at this time. What about the neighbors, friends or church? Women have always gotten together to help care for the children?

The story just wasn't adding up so I quit. Sorry.

I also don't believe the memoirs of Augusten Burroughs "Running with Scissors" etc. and Mary Karr "The Liars' Club".
Please Rate The Classic Autobiography of Growing Up Poor and Black in the Rural South
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