Books and Movies Reviews

Coming of Age in Mississippi

Coming of Age in Mississippi is an autobiography written by an African-American woman exploring the social significance of race in Mississippi and the deep South and the impact it had on her life and her perspective. The author depicts her life story, both her experiences and evolving thinking on race, gender, and social relations to demonstrate the origin, evolution, and social and political consequences of the civil rights movement.She traces her life through what she labels as her four stages of development: her childhood, high school years, college and the civil rights movement.The story describes in detail some of the consequences of being black in Mississippi.
The author begins with her childhood and the way her mother struggled to care for her and 7 other children after her father left.She recalls the poor living conditions and the lack of food her family suffered in. She was the oldest child of poor sharecroppers.She recognized early that the only option available to her mother, who was uneducated, was working as a domestic help for meaningless pay.She even worked herself, taking on the burden of helping to support her family while she was in school. Although she lacked the intellectual comprehension of prejudice, she knew that she was treated differently from other children. She wondered why the white families had such modern conveniences as indoor toilets, while her family and those like them were denied such things. She knew that white families even ate differently and longed to know what was their secret. She acknowledges from a very early age that racism wasn’t just something to read about in newspapers.
Her high school years marked a pivotal movement in her life and her understanding. When a 14-year-old visitor from Chicago named Emmitt Till had been murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman Moody’s attitude toward her society began to change.It was then that she came to realize that the only di…