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  Coming of Age in Mississippi

Home:  >Browse Listings   >Authors   >Moody, Anne
Detail from cover of Coming of Age in Mississippi
Anne Moody

Anne Moody

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

Coming of Age in Mississippi book cover
Teaching 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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