Life for Blacks who lived in the rural South during the 1950's in Mississippi was tough. In the Anne Moody's, Coming of Age in Mississippi, her autobiography describes the difficult battles of growing up poor, Black, and living in one of the most racially discriminated states in America. Moody walks us through her childhood and eventually explains how she got involved with the Civil Rights Movement and fights for the freedom and desegregation of Blacks. This novel beautifully captures Moody's hardship with the Civil Rights Movement and even brings out the same frustration the author felt when she later becomes disenchanted with the same movement.
Living conditions in the South for Blacks were quite harsh. Anne grew up on a plantation, where both her parents were sharecroppers. They lived in shacks that had either one or two rooms and, "the only chair we had was a large rocking chair that was kept on the porch because there was no room in the house for it. We didn't have a toilet. Mama would carry us out in back of the house each night before we went to bed to empty us." (p. 21) Even the churches were made of the same rotten wood and only consisted of one large room. Majority of Black women took up domestic jobs as servants and house cleaners for White families. Anne's mother started off working for the Cook's and Anne later took up a similar position at other White middle class homes. These positions kept Blacks inferior to their White neighbors, forcing them to stay in a slave-like environment. .
For some time, Anne's only perception of discrimination was that within her own race. Anne disliked her stepfather's family, who were fair skinned Blacks and according to Anne, " hated Mama for no reason at all than the fact that she was a couple of shades darker than the other members of their family." (p. 60) Anne's first taste of racial segregation was when her mother took her and her siblings to watch movies.