Coming Of Age In Mississippi Summary & Study Guide

Anne Moody

Coming Of Age In Mississippi

  • 41-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 30 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a professional writer with a Master's degree
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Coming Of Age In Mississippi Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 41-page guide for “Coming Of Age In Mississippi” by Anne Moody includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 30 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Coming of Age in a White Dominant Society and Racial Inequality in Mid-Century Rural Mississippi.

Plot Summary

First published in 1968, Coming of Age in Mississippi is an autobiography of Anne Moody, a black civil rights worker in the 1960s. The memoir starts with Moody (born Essie Mae Moody) as a young child, continues through her high school and college years, and finishes with Moody’s work in “the Movement” (civil rights movement). Narrated in the first-person and in a straightforward manner, the book unflinchingly describes poverty, segregated education, violence against black people, systemic racism, and efforts, both successful and unsuccessful, toward voting rights for blacks.

Born in rural Mississippi, Moody and her family live as sharecroppers on a white-owned plantation. After her parents separate, Moody’s mother becomes a single parent and rears Moody and her siblings by herself for several years. Moody starts working at age 9 to help her family while also going to school. Mama then meets her second husband, Raymond, who builds a house on land owned by his family.

Moody often wonders what makes white people different from black people, but Mama does not want to talk about it. After Emmett Till’s murder, Moody becomes very aware of the differences when Mrs. Burke, her employer, makes comments about keeping black people in their place. Moody also witnesses the death of an entire family when Klansmen set the house on fire. Moody begins working in Baton Rouge and New Orleans over the summers as a teenager.

After a fight with Raymond, Moody leaves home at age 17. She finishes high school with very good grades and attends Natchez College on a basketball scholarship. She later receives an academic scholarship to enter Tougaloo College. While at Tougaloo, Moody joins the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Also during college, she works with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), and the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) to promote voter registration among Negroes. She also participates in many civil rights actions and demonstrations, including a sit-in at a lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi. She later renounces nonviolence as a tactic. Moody graduates from Tougaloo and continues work in the Movement. Her social awareness and personal growth parallel the unfolding of the civil rights movement. Working for voter rights and justice provides meaning and purpose in her life, even as Moody encounters hostility and deep losses.

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Chapters 1-3