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Coming of Age in Mississippi Paperback – February 3, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Simply one of the best, Anne Moody’s autobiography is an eloquent, moving testimonial to…courage.” —Chicago Tribune

“A history of our time, seen from the bottom up, through the eyes of someone who decided for herself that things had to be changed…a timely reminder that we cannot now relax.” —Senator Edward Kennedy, The New York Times Book Review

“Something is new here…rural southern black life begins to speak. It hits the page like a natural force, crude and undeniable and, against all principles of beauty, beautiful.” —The Nation

“Engrossing, sensitive, beautiful…so candid, so honest, and so touching, as to make it virtually impossible to put down.” —San Francisco Sun-Reporter

From the Publisher

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, smells, and suffering of growing up in a racist society and candidily reveals the soul of a black girl who had the courage to challenge it. The result is a touchstone work: an accurate, authoritative portrait of black family life in the rural South and a moving account of a woman's indomitable heart. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; Reprint edition (February 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385337817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385337816
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Believe it or not, I was actually forced to read the book, "Coming of Age in Mississippi" as a freshman this past year by my college history professor. It was such a thick book, and I was sure that, knowing my professor's tastes, it would be a boring read.

However, upon reading it, I had a pleasant surprise. It was such an insightful, moving, and eye-opening book. It had me glued from page one.

As a book about a young black girl's (the author) struggle to overcome racism in the south, it is a very potent history lesson. I had thought that I understood what it was like for young African-Americans of the 1950's and '60's, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This book opened up my eyes and made me truly see the harsh reality of growing up as Anne Moody did. She has many recollections of childhood and adult aquaintances murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, as well as the story of her Mississippi Freedom Summer when she had to hide at night in high grass to avoid the Klan. It was at this time that she realized that she was on their so called "Black List." These very vivid circumstances were a slap in the face that almost made me tremble right along with the characters. Furthermore, Ms. Moody's use of common language, and the very realistic way in which she describe's her life, greatly aided me in fully understanding the enormity of the situation at that time.

Another book that can be compared to this one is, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou. Although this book is much more harsh and gritty than Ms. Moody's, it gave me much of the same feeling of insight.

The only disappointment in Anne Moody's book to me was that the ending left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Emily I. on January 9, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the well-written autobiography, Coming Of Age In Mississippi, Anne Moody describes what it is like to grow up black in Mississippi. Her experiences growing up formulated her outlook on life. Born in 1940 Anne grew up during the thick of the Civil Rights movement. She had to deal with prejudice from blacks and whites alike. Throughout the book Anne struggles with her feelings on what she believes in. Along with that, she must deal with the hardships of being poor and the outcome of her actions. As a result of her struggles a hero is born. Anne uses her heroism and strong will to make things happen. The book is well written and conveys the life experiences and feelings of a black girl as seen through the author's own reflections.
The book Coming Of Age In Mississippi is separated into 4 different sections that each tell about a different time in Anne's life. The first section of the book deals with Anne's childhood. When Anne was 4 her father left her mother and younger sister. After her father left her mother had another baby, by a solider named Raymond, whom she eventually married. When Anne was 9 years old she got her first job sweeping an old white lady's porch and sidewalks. She got paid 75 cents and 2 gallons of milk a week. Anne stopped working for the lady when the lady had her cleaning the whole house (p.44). Throughout her childhood Anne learned just what she must do to survive in Mississippi. Her experiences as a child set the guidelines for the rest of her life. It wasn't until Anne started high school that she started hating the prejudice Negroes received. "I was 15 years old when I began to hate people... I hated all the whites who were responsible for the countless murders... But I also hated Negroes. I hated them for not standing up and doing something about the murders." (p.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anne Moody's powerful story brings the reader into the world of Negroes in the fifties and sixties, where on a daily bases, they faced bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice. Her words make the reader fell as if they're sitting next to her at the Woolworths food counter, having food thrown at them for sharing her views on life. She makes her fear of being beaten by the local police a fear you feel as the knot in your stomach gets tighter with each page. But along with these fears and acts of violence, you see the courage and strength in this young girl that makes her such a memorable individual. This book tells you the story of a fighter for eqality that just won't quit, teaching us that when times are tough, you don't run and hide. She has described every painful detail of the equal right movement that became her life, so that other generations as well as her own could know what she as well as many others were forced to live with. And along with these admirable strengths, Anne Moody reminds us that even when we think we've achived our goal, that doesn't mean it's time to stop and relax. She shows us that there is always something better to strive for.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Connie G Scammell TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 20, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Thus a civil rights advocate was born.

I read this book seven years ago, on a whim, because I was wanting to understand why Southerners were especially proud of their heritage when there was so much suffering among its own people, especially its blacks.

Ann Moddy lived a life that most whites would be ashamed of, but that many blacks endured. This is a part of American history that mainstreem history books seldom cover in any detail and leave to the "Black Studies" department.

Moody lived her life struggling for identity, struggling for change, struggling for advancement. She made something of herself and has never looked back. (I read somewhere that she doesn't like to talk about her growing-up years and has lived a life of seclusion.). She can only be admired for what she has made of herself.

Moody never once expresses hurt. All she wanted was justice for all. She left Mississippi with more than a tinge of anger.

This book should be required reading for all social studies classes. It is engrossing without being sentimental or overly emotional (and it certainly is not "girly" at all.) For anyone, regardless of color, gender or legal status, this should be a must-read.
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