In 1968, Anne Moody published her autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi. Her book is a startling depiction of what it was like to grow up a poor, southern African American. Through her revelation of the tremendous amounts of racial discrimination and prejudice that African Americans faced in the South, Moody was able to capture the attention of Americans around the country, from all social classes and backgrounds. Moody creates an unforgettable image of the inequalities and violence that characterized Southern, Black society and, through her own involvement, shows why the Civil Rights Movement was such a necessity. Indeed, the Civil Rights Movement was transforming, turning away from the nonviolence of Martin Luther King to a more militant stance embodied by Malcolm X. But how much has African American life changed since then? Despite the elimination of most forms of legal and overt racism that were customary when Anne Moody was growing up, the Civil Rights Movement failed to eradicate the prevalence of hidden, covert racism which exists in our society today. Thus, the status of African American life has changed insignificantly since the Civil Rights Movement. .
The Civil Rights Movement, undoubtedly, initiated the abolishment of most forms of legal discrimination. Through their non-violent confrontations in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Freedom Rides, sit-ins, and the March on Washington, participants in the Civil Rights Movement won both widespread media coverage and government intervention. The Movement's crowning legislative achievement was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which banned discrimination in places of public accommodation, enforced the Constitutional right to vote, established a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and prevented discrimination in federally assisted programs. Busses, lunch counters, drinking fountains, schools, occupations, and neighborhoods were all segregated by law and were custom.