Coming of Age in Mississippi, written in 1968, still has a relevant message today:  Don’t forget the past. It is the “autobiography of growing up poor and black in the rural South.” The author, Anne Moody grew up in Mississippi during the forties, fifties and early sixties.  The book ends around 1963 or so, after the Kennedy assassination.  The book is divided into sections: Part I Childhood, Part II High School, Part III College, Part IV The Movement (which is, of course the Civil Rights Movement).  I would be “hard put” to pick the part I liked best, if “like” is even the appropriate word.  It is an unforgettable personal story and a coming of age story, taking Ms. Moody  from a young girl to a responsible, aware adult.

I enjoy reading about people who overcame great obstacles, and this is definitely such a story.  From an innocent, accepting child to a militant, questioning, mature young woman, Anne emerges as a witness to times we whites may have lived through but never understood both “sides” of. Her voice is true and powerful without condemning except where it is well deserved.

With books like The Help we get a picture of Mississippi in the early sixties, but with Moody’s  factual help, we learn what it was like to live through those times.  It is a book that is not outdated and well worth your reading time.


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

4 thoughts on “COMING OF AGE IN MISSISSIPPI: A Review of a Classic”

    1. Thank you. Even though I lived through the Civil Rights Era in the South (Virginia) and missed a semester of school because the governor would not let blacks and whites attend school together and padlocked chains on the school doors, I never had enough sympathy/empathy for the students who integrated Virginia’s schools until 1963 when as a senior in high school, I had my first black friend who was a classmate. I grew up in a world where blacks and whites were not allowed to mix or even be friends and accepted it as the “normal” way of things. We are a product of our backgrounds, and change comes very slowly, sometimes to “our” disgrace.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s part of how we function – to accept how we are brought up as normality until something or someone challenges that view. Which is why an education that makes us question our worldview is so vital. But surely, that can’t be laid at our door – what makes the difference is if we continue throughout our lives accepting those injustices around us as the norm. You clearly didn’t:).

        Liked by 1 person

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