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Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody (Essay Sample)


I was expected to read and analyze the monograph "Coming of Age in Mississippi" by Anne Moody. Through the reading, I was able to develop and support my arguments while describing the
experiences of Anne Moody in relation to the more well-known Civil Rights activists (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, etc.). Through the reading, I was able to explore the ridiculousness of poverty, racial and class discrimination in Mississippi in the 1900s.


Analysis of Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody
The monograph Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody is one of the most intriguing memoirs written. By recounting her childhood experiences in the harsh American environment during 1900, she tells how and what shaped her civil rights activism journey. Through her autobiography, readers get the picture of what America was under Jim Crow and what specifically fuelled the Civil War. On top of highlighting the high level of poverty and the high rate of human suffering in Mississippi, Moody openly criticized systemic racism and classism that persisted during her time. As a narrator and protagonist in her piece, she tells how she witnessed the harsh American environment and how the tension between white people and people from other races was intense. Faced with many challenges such as poverty, Moody had to work as a house help to supplement the family income. Through these experiences, Moody realized first-hand, day-to-day experience of black people in the hands of the superior groups. For Moody, rather than live as a victim of dire circumstances and harsh society like her mother, there was a need to challenge and change the ugly face of racism and classism. The piece exposes the ridiculousness of poverty, racial and class discrimination in Mississippi in the 1900s.
Jim Crow laws and Persistent Racism
Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi perfectly manipulates the fiction to make great sense. Notably, as depicted in Anne Moody’s memoir, the situation in Mississippi was harsh, especially with the Jim Crow laws in place. The laws were particularly enacted to legalized racial segregation, meaning that it was almost legal for whites to marginalize African Americans by denying them an education, equal pay, jobs, and the right to vote. With Jim crow enforced, it meant that those who defied it faced arrests, jail sentences, fines, and even death. Together with the black code, the Jim Crow laws worked collectively in the south to ensure that blacks were placed in indentured servitude. The American system was entirely anti-black, with former confederates working as judges and police, making it hard for black Americans to have equal treatment injustice and other aspects of life.[Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi 1968 Pt. IV: The Movement Ch 26: Excerpts, 1.] [Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi 1968 Pt. IV: The Movement Ch 26: Excerpts, 4.]
In the prison system, black prisoners were equally oppressed and unequally treated as they were awarded longer sentences than their white counterparts. Throughout 1900, the Jim crows were expanded and made it hard for African Americans to live in a white neighborhood. The law further prohibited any African American from living in a white neighborhood, using some hospitals, and even studying in schools deemed ideal only for whites. Marriage between whites and black was also forbidden, especially in the southern states. In schools, black and white children were separated, with each class offered different books. It was prevalent to see signposts prohibiting black people in some areas.
Racial segregation and Inequality
Moody’s memoir is an ultimate depiction of life in America in the 1900s. A close examination of Moody’s family and their economic situation indicates a huge disparity between black and whites. She opens up with a reflection of her childhood where she says, “I am still haunted by dreams of the time we lived on Mr. Carter's plantation. Lots of Negroes lived on this place. Like Mama and Daddy, they were all farmers". Here she reveals the massive difference between whites and blacks. She notes further that Carter’s house was "like a big lighted castle" (5). Conversely, the "Negro shacks down in the bottom began to 20 fades with the darkness". There is a considerable disparity between blacks and whites, something Moody considers a significant problem. There was the hopelessness that trapped many blacks in poverty and dire conditions that necessitated immediate action.[Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi 1968 Pt. IV: The Movement Ch 26: Excerpts, 3.] [Ibid., 5]
Moody’s first experience in the plantation sets the basis for the entire memoir, allowing her to reflect on critical issues that faced the society, including white domination over the black people, the lack of equal opportunities, racial segregation, lack of equal pay, inadequate utilities, harsh farming, and poverty. Through her social interactions with family, society, and even employers, Moody realizes deep-rooted injustices and inequality. In-process will enable her to develop a robust political consciousness that gives her the conviction to pursue and fight all these social injustices. She uses her autobiography to propose ways of correcting negative stereotypes in society. Ideally, the saddes

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