Anne Moody Essay Research Paper ESSAY ASSIGMENT

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Anne Moody Essay, Research Paper ESSAY ASSIGMENT #2 America of the 1960s was a social and ideological battleground. It was fighting an idelogical war in southeast Asia, while at home it was battling civil rights conflicts which had been simmering just beneath the surface for over a hundred years. In what could only be explained as historical irony, the U.S. military was fighting for human rights for the South Vietnamese while denying civil rights to its citizens whose only “crime” was that their skin was black. The civil rights movement not only defined America, but also the lives of the black men and women who had long known oppression, and were frutrated by the feeble attempts to combat it. Anne Moody’s autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi, explored the impact

of the civil rights movement on her life and perspective. We can find three events in Moody’s as turning points in her life; her high- school days, her college experiences, and finally, the movement itself. As Moody recalled her childhood, she acknowledged that from a very early age, racism wasn’t just something to read about in newspapers. In Mississippi, it was like an insidious cancer from which there was no escape. Even as a child, 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. What was their secret? Moody was an acaemic scholar who had received a

college scholarship, much to the delight of her parents, but she always knew she would never be like everybody else. Her family were proud, working-class people who attempted to assimilate into the American mainstream, but racism made Moody angry and eager to fight. This left her increasingly alienated from family members who did not understand why she had to engage in public protest or volunteer her services to ensure the voting rights of black citizens. Mississippi had long the sight of vigilante style justice, where black men were executed by a white judge and jury, without the opportunity to speak out in their own defense. When a 14-year-old visitor from Chicago named Emmitt Till had been hanged for allegedly whistling at an attractive white woman, Anne Moody could remain

silent no longer. She was infuriated by her fellow African Americans’ reluctance to decry such injustice. Moody became a visible and vocal supporter of the civil rights movement, to the extent that her name was prominently featured on the Ku Klux Klan’s notorious “black” list. One night, she was even forced to spend the night outdoors, hiding from the wrath of the KKK like a hunted animal. Anne Moody’s recollections of growing up in Mississippi’s tumultuous social climate pulls no punches. It is a no-nonsense memoir in everyday language which is easily understood by everyone, regardless of educational background. Moody’s youthful idealism embraces the civil- rights movement wholeheartedly. But eventually, she begins to doubt the potency of the movement and its

nonviolent spokesman, Martin Luther King, Jr. Two factions began to emerge within the movement itself, the pacifistic position advocated by King and his followers, and the more militant stance of Malcolm X. Moody has the courage to wonder aloud, can the civil rights movement be ultimately successful without violence, or is civil disobedience akin to doing nothing? When your fellow man is being clubbed in the streets or hung in the trees, is “turning the other cheek” an effective response? Having endured blows by the fists of a white man, it is natural for Moody to want to fight back to protect both herself and her race. In conclusion we can say that Coming of Age in Mississippi truly conveys what it was like to be an African- American female living under the oppressive daily