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Coming of Age in Mississippi

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  6,757 Ratings  ·  449 Reviews
Written without a trace of sentimentality or apology, this is an unforgettable personal story—the truth as a remarkable young woman named Anne Moody lived it. To read her book is to know what it is to have grown up black in Mississippi in the forties an fifties—and to have survived with pride and courage intact.

In this now classic autobiography, she details the sights, sme
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ebook, 432 pages
Published September 7th 2011 by Dell (first published 1968)
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Community Reviews

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Nancy
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
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Thomas
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
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Christy
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
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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
Judy
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
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Doreen
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Diane
A first-hand and painfully honest account of what it was really like to grow up poor in rural Mississippi and then to ‘come of age’ and be a part of the onset of America’s Civil Rights Movement.

Told in first person narrative, this book is like having a conversation with the author, Anne Moody. In fact, if there were audios when this book was published (1968) it would have been a treasure to have had Anne Moody narrate this book. But that’s not to be.

If you’ve read fictionalized accounts of this
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nettebuecherkiste
Anne Moody wird 1940 als Essie May Moody in Centreville, Mississippi geboren. Ihre Kindheit ist geprägt von tiefer Armut und der langsamen Erkenntnis, was es heißt, Mitte des vergangenen Jahrhunderts eine Schwarzafrikanerin im Süden der USA zu sein. Wie viele Schwarze muss Moody früh Geld verdienen, um überhaupt zur Schule gehen zu können, was die meisten Weißen gnadenlos ausnutzen, die die Schwarzen für wenig Geld hart arbeiten lassen. Die Ausnahmen lässt Moody jedoch keineswegs unerwähnt, sie ...more
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
Trish
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
Andy
Mar 29, 2008 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
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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
Mississippi Library Commission
Completely forthright and never sentimental, Anne Moody's autobiography is an eye opening experience. Moody, who was the same age as Emmett Till, was deeply affected by his kidnapping and murder and a fiery determination to fight for justice and equality was born. This book is a must read. Highly recommended.
Emily
Sep 24, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jenny.p
Oct 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ashley
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
Lillian
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel N
May 30, 2008 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
Julie
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Em
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Melanie Page
You'll be emotional from page one to page done. Here is a snippet of my review on Grab the Lapels:

Moody’s book also taught me details of the Civil Rights Movement of which I was not aware, even though I’ve studied and taught the time period. For instance, when a house full of activists hear through the grapevine that a group of whites are going to kill them that night and block all the roads out of town, the young men and women lay out in the yard all night in long grass. It’s wet, hard, and the
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~Charmer~the 1-click addict
Wow! I loved it. This is the best book I've read in 2017. I had no idea that an autobiography could be this good. I laughed so much at Essie Mae. She was so smart and brave at such a young age. Her first job was at age nine. I couldn't stand her mother. I thought she was useless. All she did was yell and talk down to her. And she made me mad having all those children with no money.

I think I connected with Essie Mae. Her perspective and the way she responded to people, even when she was very litt
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Hannah Williams
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nicole
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nicole
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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  • Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s
  • Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC
  • Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells
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  • A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America
  • Ar'n't I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South
  • 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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  • Homeward Bound: American Families In The Cold War Era
  • 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
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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
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“I was fifteen years old when I began to hate people.” 7 likes
“I was sick of pretending, sick of selling my feelings for a dollar a day.” 7 likes
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