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Coming of Age in Mississippi

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  5,394 ratings  ·  352 reviews
Born to a poor couple who were tenant farmers on a plantation in Mississippi, Anne Moody lived through some of the most dangerous days of the pre-civil rights era in the South.
Paperback, 424 pages
Published February 3rd 2004 by Delta (first published 1968)
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Posted at Shelf Inflicted

I recently read Kathryn Stockett’s The Help and while I enjoyed this story tremendously, I wanted to read something that was less uplifting, more realistic, and told from the perspective of an African-American. Anne Moody’s powerful memoir was the perfect choice.

This is a well-told and fascinating story about the author's life growing up in rural Mississippi, and her fight against racism. Her story is chronologically told, from the author's youth in rural Mississippi, h
Anne Moody's autobiography is a very matter-of-factly told tale of, as the title indicates, growing up in Mississippi. Particularly, Moody reveals the difficulties inherent in growing up poor and black in Mississippi in the mid-twentieth century.

The first half of the book is devoted to her childhood and high school years and is at times somewehat uninteresting (I don't really care about her winning Homecoming Queen, for instance), but it does show really clearly the depths of poverty that many
Larry Bassett
Coming of Age in Mississippi was first published in 1968. The author, born in 1940, is six years older than I am so her life is relatively contemporaneous with mine, a factor that intrigues me although our lives are not at all the same other than that calendar years overlap. In 1968: the war in Vietnam is fully underway and politically divisive in the U.S.; Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis; Robert Kennedy is assassinated in San Francisco; Black power salute of raised fist at Oly ...more
Words that come to mind after reading this book....compelling, fascinating, obsessively drawn into, ultra-honest.

Coming of Age in Mississippi published in 1968, but it could have been published 2008 as far as I'm concerned because I felt like I was there with Anne Moody. Outhouses, walking to school, riding buses from town to town, beehive hairdos, who cares? I was there and hardly noticed those things.

I found this book to be a motivating story of how a poor woman rose above her circumstances
A friend returned from a trip to Mississippi and bought me this book during her visit there. I looked forward to reading it because it promised an interesting first-hand perspective, that of Anne Moody, an insider in the civil rights movement or, as Sen. Edward Kennedy stated, "A history of our time, seen from the bottom up." I was greatly disappointed because it offered little insight.

The autobiography often read like a catalogue of events: I did this and then I did this and then. . . From my s
Kressel Housman
My interest in the civil rights movement was piqued recently from Remembering America, the memoir of JFK’s and LBJ’s speechwriter. Since that book gave a top-down look at the origin of civil rights legislation, I wanted the bottom-up viewpoint of someone who participated in the movement. I knew of this book because it was recommended (though not assigned) in a History of the Sixties class I took back in college. The professor praised it so highly, I was able to remember the name “Anne Moody” the ...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
caveat - I stopped about 2/3rds of the way. The style was so emotionally flat that it "evened out" the horror of the racism she was enduring, and the events she was witnessing, with the effect of almost sanitizing them. This was compounded by Moody coming across as self-centred (at least) and arrogant (at worst). The reconciliation scene with her mother was a case in point: she acknowledged she had behaved horribly but then ... kept behaving horribly, and with the shallowest, most egotistical ex ...more
“The revolution will put you in the driver's seat” (Gil Scott-Heron).

As a child in the United States, I was confronted every single February with what I thought was considered to be the civil rights movement. Through various novels I learned about slavery and the conditions on plantations around the world. I was taught that African-American's were given the right to vote in the United States in 1870 with the Fifteenth amendment but faced endless struggles actually making it to the ballots for th
I recently re-read this book, remembering it as one of the most important books in my life and the book that ultimately led to my decision to major in history in undergrad. and focus on Southern history. While it is hard to criticize this book because Moody's life trials are so profound, I found myself growing annoyed with this Moody on this second read; she is consistently self-absorbed and narcissistic throughout. To the point where her stories of activist work in the Civil Rights struggle too ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I was curious to read this book. Born white and working class in the Midwest in 1962, the Civil Rights struggle didn't really affect me personally, and we heard little about it. "Demonstrations" and sit-ins were held in other places--pretty far away, when you live in a small rural town. It was something "college kids" did on weekends "to make trouble" according to my southern-born father. I never saw a black person close enough to speak to until I was in middle school. There simply weren't any a ...more
EVERYONE needs to read this book. It's a true story of a young civil-rights activist. After she wrote the book, which you will not be able to put down once you start, she went into seclusion because many people bashed her for writing her story. It's heart-wrenching and hopeful. Anne Moody's courage is obvious and she never asks for your sympathy. You will learn so much from this book.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
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 c ...more
I knew nothing about this book before I randomly picked it off the shelf at the library...

...But I'm pleasantly surprised that it's an easy and interesting read. As Moody matter-of-factly recounts her childhood experiences in the deep south, starting from age six or so; as her understanding of her environment grows, so does her discontent, idealism and determination to work for change.

Portions devoted to describing how her own physical beauty, intelligence, courage and athletic skill was greate
Rachel N
Jun 14, 2008 Rachel N rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in the Civil Rights Movement
A sad, sobering, down-to-earth look at the Civil Rights movement. The author does not claim to be a "writer," but an activist who wanted to tell her own story. With that in mind, this story was truly one that needed to be told. This book is required reading in some colleges. It provides us with an inside look at growing up in the south in the 50s and 60s - a painful aspect of American history that cannot be ignored. The author was a part of the famous sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter in Mis ...more
There are many levels and layers to this book. Firstly, it is a story of a young African American girl and her early childhood and the poverty and struggles of her family in Mississippi. It is also a story of a fiery intelligent young women dealing with the racism, poverty and hatred that she encountered growing up in such a G-d forsaken place, the author's own struggles with her family ,and her search for autonomy. Most importantly it covers a portion of the history of the civil rights movement ...more
This was a pretty remarkable book, one that truly grows on you as you follow Annie Moody through her life. What works about Coming Of Age is the juxtaposition of writing style and storyline. Moody lets her story unfold using an unsentimental, no-nonsense tone. While her early years growing up in a small rural Mississippi town in the '40s were not marked by violence, the early stirrings of the Civil Rights movement prompted a rapid and ruthless white repression of black civil rights. The spare na ...more
529_Quincy Owens
Coming of Age in Mississippi, the autobiography of Anne Moody is a long journey full of coincidental brushes with many moments that have shaped American history during the Civil Rights Movement. As such, Anne Moody’s story symbolically stands as evidence that there would have been no “movement” without the millions of people who marched, protested, and fought for their rights. Later in the book, Anne remarks about a march in Washington that drew millions of people; she was surprised to find she ...more
Hannah Williams
In the novel , "Coming Of Age In Mississippi " written by Anne Moody , tells the first person account of a young african american girl growing up and learning that she was considered to be inferior to an individual with white skin. The author does a really good job of telling us of the time when she truly understood segregation. This novel is a inspiring story about a young lady that grew up and realized that she wasnt going to just be complacent and accept the way that her people were treated. ...more
This was an autobiography that Anne Moody wrote in the late 60s. She starts with her earliest growing up days in a hard life, poor and black in Mississippi, and she shares her own awakening not as a commentary, but vividly and emotionally as it happens to her. Her observations are frank and I think that the fact that it was written then, rather than looking back from the relative safety and calm of decades later, makes it a very powerful and frank discussion of her own involvement in the civil r ...more
Shelby Sebastian
This is a fascinating story about the author's life growing up in rural Mississippi. The story describes her fight against racism and describes all the hardships her and her family endured. The story is told in chronological order starting with her growing up in Mississippi, her fight to gain her education, different family relationships, problems with poverty, racism, violence and finally, her involvement with the Civil Rights Movement. It is a very powerful story that I believe is for high sch ...more
A fascinating story of growing up in MS during the 50's and 60's. The last third of the book gives you a first hand insight into the Freedom movement in that state. The only reason I did not rate this a 5 was that the writing style was not as engaging as I would have liked. However the content was great. Well worth the read, particularly if you remember growing up during those years. What a different perspective I had growing up in New Jersey.
Autobiography of Anne Moody, a civil rights activist in the early 60's. The book tells the story of her life from a poor child growing up in Mississippi through high school and college and finally to her work with the movement in her early 20's.

I found the book very interesting. And almost unbelievable to think these sorts of things were going on such a short time ago.

However, I wasn't at all impressed with the writing or the editing of the book. I felt the story was scattered, at times leaving
Jul 07, 2007 Meghan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like autobiographies
This book had all of the charm and the trappings of an autobiography. It gave an excellent, personal portrait of life in rural Mississippi in the 50's and 60's, making historical events like the rise of the KKK more meaningful than in any textbook, but it jumped around cronologically, gave poor explanations of events, and sometimes left out whole stretches of history. The most important aspect of this book is the illustration of the multiple layers of inequality; sexism, racism, colorism with ra ...more
I am currently taking a civil rights class, and this book complements it nicely. So far, I am enjoying the book both because of the amazing determination the author shows in getting an education despite the odds, but also because of the incredibly frightening first-hand accounts of the horrors of racism in the Deep South in this time period.


Now that I'm finished (silly school slowed me down a lot) the only thing I have to add is that I wish it hadn't ended where it did. I know she went on
i didn't know if i would be able to fully appreciate this autobiography. in college, i read so many memoirs and biographies that they began to lose their spirit for me. so i was a bit resistant to read this one. but i am so glad that i did. there's a way that anne moody draws you into her life ... it's so gripping, realistic, and compelling - that i felt the emotions that she wrote. by the end of the novel, i felt as exhausted as she wrote about - as if i had participated in all of movements. am ...more
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This book deserves a place alongside books by Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, and others, most notably because it is an autobiography rather than a fictionalization of life in the segregated South. Moody's memoir chronicles horrors and degradations she and her family suffered--sometimes at the direct hand of racist whites in southern Mississippi, but more often as an indirect result of a system that kept generations poor, uneducated, and powerless.

While I found th
Linda Lipko
I finished this book a few days ago and have really thought a lot about what to say. I have such mixed feelings. It was good enough to hold my interest, but about 3/4 of the way through I grew weary of what I perceived as near constant whining.

Anne deserves so much credit for her bravery during the civil rights movement. A part of the infamous Woolworth sit in at the lunch counter wherein she and her fellow protesters sat at what was then an all white lunch counter. Refusing to leave, they suff
This was a tough read, but worthwhile. Anne Moody grew up in Mississippi and didn't like a lot of what she saw going on around her. She was determined to get away from the tiny town where she grew up, get herself an education, and live a larger life. In college she became part of the civil rights movement, participating in voter drives, sit-ins, and marches, despite the constant threats of violence against her, her fellow justice workers, and her family back home. This took a heavy psychological ...more
autobiography of Anne moody from
her birth in 1940 to graduating college in 1964. focuses on southern Mississippi race relations, kkk activities, and then "the movement" in the late 50s and early 60s. excellent perspective from a primary source. subpar writing and countless tangents into the trivial. I am glad to have read it, but I suffered a little to get it done.
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Born Essie Mae Moody on September 15, 1940, near Centreville, Mississippi, Moody was the daughter of poor African-American sharecroppers. She was the oldest of nine children.

She won a basketball scholarship to Natchez Junior College and was in attendance from 1959 through 1961. She then won an academic scholarship to Tugaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, and received a bachelor of science degr
More about Anne Moody...
Mr. Death: Four Stories Famous People Stories: 4th Grade Reading Level Famous People Stories: 5th Grade Reading Level Growing Up in the South: An Anthology of Modern Southern Literature Civil Rights: The African-American Struggle for Equality

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“I was sick of pretending, sick of selling my feelings for a dollar a day.” 6 likes
“I was fifteen years old when I began to hate people.” 5 likes
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