Title of Book: Coming Of Age In Mississippi.
Author: Anne Moody Publication Date: 1968.
Publisher: Dell Publishing.
Source: Dr. Katherine Abbott.
Audience Age/Grade: Young Adult Genre: Strong Female Character.
Curriculum Connections: Civil Rights Movement, Racism, Determination, 1960s History and Survival.
The story introduces the reader to the character of Anne Moody, also known as Essie, her family, and a source of several famous characters such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evers. She grew up in a town in Centreville, Mississippi where she developed an intense hatred of "White America" and blacks. She hated whites because they kept the black man down and she hated her own race because they never stood up for themselves. During her early childhood, she barely met the basic needs of food and shelter but it was her discovery of racism after the murder of Emmett Till that caused her to become aware of her need to survive for her family. During her life, she experiences three major events that made her into the remarkable woman she became and each of these would contribute to the already expanding realization by the black community that there was a need for a Civil Rights Movement. The first was the murder of Emmett Till, her cousin who was a visitor from Chicago, Illinois. He made a pass at a white woman in a general store and was unaware of the inappropriateness of this action in a southern state in 1940s. He was later caught by two white men, beaten and left for dead in a ditch. Everyone knew that the white men had committed the crime but no one would dare to speak up for fear that they would be next. This caused Anne to realize that black people had to make a severe change in their personalities or they would continue to live under a blanket of fear forever.