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Coming of Age in Mississippi

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,122 Ratings  ·  397 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. The week before she began high school came the news of Emmet Till s lynching. Before then, she had "known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was the fear of being killed just bec ...more
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
3.5 stars

Love Anne Moody's fierceness. I feel like we sometimes idealize activists in society without realizing that they too have doubts and flaws. Moody's memoir blends strength and vulnerability, showcasing her thirst for change as well as the frustrations she faced as a poor black woman who grew up in the south. I appreciated reading about the development of her passion for activism and her experiences working with racial justice groups such as SNCC, NAACP, and CORE. Above all else, Moody's
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
Nov 05, 2015 Doreen rated it it was ok
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
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
Kressel Housman
Jan 20, 2015 Kressel Housman rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 13, 2016 Trish rated it it was ok
As much as I respect Anne Moody and all that she accomplished and experienced in her life, this autobiography didn't really touch my heart or my soul in any way. Perhaps Moody is stoic by nature, I don't know. To be fair, I also blame the writing. Moody writes in a very systematic, detached, expressionless style that made it difficult for me to feel what she's feeling or to do more than sympathize for a few moments before I was forced to move on to the next notable event in her life. This book r ...more
Apr 27, 2008 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Oct 21, 2007 Jenny.p rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2008 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: bios-memoirs, af-am
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
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
Feb 26, 2009 Ashley rated it it was amazing
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
Jennifer (aka EM)
Oct 04, 2012 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it it was ok
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
Rachel N
Jun 14, 2008 Rachel N rated it it was ok  ·  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
Apr 21, 2013 Lillian rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 08, 2010 Julie rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 04, 2016 Em rated it it was amazing
This is what I wanted The Help to be. I feel uncomfortable with fictional books on racism that become popular because the main character is a white person that heroically saves the African Americans. I prefer to hear about racism from an African American perspective. This is a true story about Anne Moody growing up in rural Mississippi and the institutionalized racism that keeps her family in poverty. She ends up being bravely involved in the Civil Rights Movement. This book is gritty and real. ...more
Aug 07, 2016 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: peace lovers, social justice activists, students, teachers
Recommended to Nicole by: Phil Overeem
Mississippi, Goddam. Anne Moody's memoir makes my heart hurt and my soul stir with anger towards a state, and a country really, where citizens working towards making an accessible democracy for all were repeatedly terrorized and brutalized as those in authority either turned a blind eye or took an active role. In addition to Moody, thousands of people had to remain determined in the face of violence to achieve some level of justice and the Voting Rights Act, which should never be taken for grant ...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
Oct 12, 2012 Hannah Williams rated it really liked it
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
Mar 08, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
Oct 14, 2012 Shelby Sebastian rated it really liked it
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
Jun 13, 2015 Rich rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 21, 2009 Nicole rated it it was ok
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
Mila Rossi
Mar 07, 2016 Mila Rossi rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that makes you feel and think, so if you are looking for a light read, this isn't it. I enjoyed it very much and kept the copy on my permanent bookshelf.
Candelaria Silva
Jan 25, 2016 Candelaria Silva rated it it was amazing
Nina Simone wrote a song, "Mississippi God-damn." This coming of age story set in Mississippi could have provided her with the inspiration for the song. It is a lovely memoir.
Oct 07, 2015 Quirkyreader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very compelling memoir. I kept getting lost in it because of Moody's direct and descriptive writing style. Moody was an important member of the Civil Rights movement in the Deep South. Many of the things she was writing about in 1968 are still happening in the States.

Jul 07, 2007 Meghan rated it liked it  ·  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
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  • Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s
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  • Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol
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  • To 'Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors After the Civil War
  • In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s
  • Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
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  • Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi
  • Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920
  • The Struggle for Black Equality: 1954-1992
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...

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