Civil rights activist
Anne Moody was born in rural Wilkinson County, Mississippi on September
15, 1940. Although she published a collection of short stories entitled
Mr. Death in 1975, it is her autobiography Coming of Age
in Mississippi for which she is most recognized. The 1969 book
is an account of her youth in rural Mississippi growing up on a
plantation as a child of sharecroppers, followed by her work as
civil rights activist and eventual flight from the South.
While at Tougaloo
College she worked with the NAACP,
CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and SNCC (Student Non-Violent
Coordinating Committee), culminating in her personal involvement
in the integration of Woolworth's lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi.
Eventually Coming of Age also gives the reader an indication
of the motivations for the author's turn toward militancy and her
eventual move to New York City, where she now resides.
Moody herself has trouble with the identity
of "writer": "In the beginning, I never really saw myself as a writer.
I was first and foremost an activist in the civil rights movement
in Mississippi. When I could no longer see that anything was being
accomplished by our work there, I left and went North. I came to
see through my writing that no matter how hard we in the Movement
worked, nothing seemed to change; that we made a few visible little
gains, yet at the root, things always remained the same; and that
the Movement was not in control of its destiny nor did we
have any means of controlling its destiny."
Still, Coming of Age in Mississippi
remains a classic in the literature of the civil rights movement.
It has been consistently anthologized, and on its publication Sen.
Edward Kennedy wrote "Anne Moody's powerful and moving book is a
timely reminder that we cannot now relax in the struggle for sound
justice in America." Moody has won awards or been recognized by
the International P.E.N./Faulkner Awards and the National Council
of Christians and Jews. The reluctant writer is reportedly at work
on a novel entitled The Clay Gully.
Related Links & Info
Anne Moody's Coming of Age in Mississippi Discussion
- Mr. Death: Four Stories. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.
- Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York: Dial Press, 1968.
- Internet Resources
- Miscellaneous Information Sources:
- Anne Moody, from Mississippi Writers and Musicians.
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