A Book Review of Anne Moody's Coming of Age in Mississippi. Anne Moody's autobiographical book, Coming Of Age In Mississippi, is more than just a childhood memoir by the author. Because it is played against the all too real background of racial tension in Mississippi of the segregation era, it is also a chronicle of the Civil Rights struggle and racial politics of that time.
The early part of her book relates Moody's experiences as a girl in the rural small town of Centreville, Mississippi. Not only is there racial tension between the black Moody and the whites, there is also problems with her lighter colored black relatives. This was an interesting aspect of her book for it shows that racism was not only prevalent among the Mississippi whites but even an element of it among some blacks who because of their lighter skins considered themselves to have a higher station in life than the darker blacks. Moody showed an example of this in her book when she wrote about her mother marrying a light-skinned black man named Raymond. Raymond's mother, Miss Pearl, treated Moody's family rather coldly because they were not as light as she was.
It was with the whites of Centreville, however, where the greatest racial tensions were experienced. Because Moody worked for several white people in Centreville, she got an intimate view of the prevalent racism. An example occurred when Moody went to work cleaning a home for a young white woman named Linda Jean Jenkins. Black people in the South back then were expected to call white people only by their last names preceded by a Mr., Miss, or Mrs.. Because Linda Jean was only a little older than Moody and because she was informal and friendly, she insisted that Moody call her by her first name. Linda Jean's mother, Mrs. Burke was offended by this and considered this to be an affront to the dignity of the racial norm of the time.
Later, Anne Moody went to work for Mrs. Burke herself. Although Mrs.