Anne Moody is known to be an outstanding author and a prominent political activist, who brought a significant contribution to the history of America. Coming from the ordinary family of farmers and being a black person, from the early ages of her life the woman started participating in numerous activist movements, which pursue the goal of defending the rights of black people and equalizing them with the white population of the country. Thus, being under impression of the particular situation concerning the prevalence of racism and segregation in the area where she lived and in the USA in general, Anne decided to write a book, in which she describes her experience of maturing as a black person in Mississippi and facing various challenges in her life. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the background of the writer, identify the elements of cultural knowledge that Anne learned in her childhood, and realize how it influenced on the processes happening in the United States at that moment. Anne Moody’s early stages of life were full of difficulties and obstacles. Being raised in the poor Negro family in the Mississippi state the girl often had to observe injustice and tyranny in the community and sometimes at home. However, namely due to the tough moments in the childhood, she managed to take some significant life lessons and explore new aspects that later contributed to her cultural knowledge and developed her personal outlook on various social processes.
In the book Coming of Age in Mississippi written by Anne Moody, the author aims to tell her own life story, her socialization and development of cognition through the events, conversations, internal and emotional struggles. In fact, being so concerned with the social situation and civil rights of citizens, the woman was rather a political activist than a writer. Hence, she wrote the book not to gain the popularity, but to show the world the crucial position of Negroes in the USA.
Indeed, by monitoring the situation in the family and the attitude of its members to the social problems, the girl learned the necessity of awareness of events and news occurring in the country. Specifically, the mother was the hindrance on the way of Anne’s development of personal outlook on the relationship between the races. She attempted to protect the girl from any racial dissension by forbidding her to act inappropriately in the presence of the white people and refusing to explain the reasons for it.
However, despite the mother’s effort to keep the daughter out of it, the adolescent was expressing the huge interest to the particular situation and soon comprehended the existence of the distinction between people’s rights of different races. Thus, in her book Anne Moody (2011) proclaims “I now realized that not only were they better than me because they were white, but everything they owned and everything connected with them was better than what was available to me” (p. 26). This issue had a severe impact on the little girl’s cognition of the society and motivated her to seek for more information by communicating with other people in order to be aware of the race problem. Therefore, she witnessed the relationship of black and white people by interacting with others and observing the situation at home and in the school settings.
Another source of the acquired knowledge for Anne Moody was the interaction with the white people. During the childhood, the girl frequently worked for the white Americans: she cooked and cleaned their houses. Thus, by constantly being surrounded by such community, she received more information about the race relations and compared the societal norms of black and white people. Describing her life in the book, the author expressed her fear of being killed due to the black color of the skin. In fact, the young woman was an equitable person; hence, she could not tolerate the severe incidents happening to the black people and the act of injustice that was predominant in the Mississippi. Anne Moody (2011) wrote, “I was fifteen years old when I began to hate people. I hated the white men who murdered Emmett Till and I hated all the other whites who were responsible for the countless murders Mrs. Rice had told me about and those I vaguely remembered from childhood” (p. 110). Consequently, the experience of interacting with white people gave Anne a clear understanding of segregation and encouraged her to formulate a personal viewpoint on the surrounding.
In addition, Anne Moody obtained an essential baggage of cultural knowledge from the community of black people. The observations of diverse life situations and the challenges the Negroes usually face due to the discrimination of rights contributed to the woman’s development of perspectives. Primarily, she followed the persuasion that the establishing of the race equality between people is of the vital necessity. However, after communicating with the different groups of Negroes and apprehending their opinions, she was extremely appalled by the inaction of people. Thus, Anne Moody (2011) in her book explains:
I hated Negroes for not standing up and doing something about the murders. In fact, I think I had a stronger resentment toward Negroes for letting the whites kill them than toward the whites. Anyway, it was at this stage in my life that I began to look upon Negro men as cowards (p.110).
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Essentially, by including this phrase the author aimed to impose the idea on the readers that people owe the obligation to defend themselves and to fight for their civil rights. Anne Moody neither supported the permissiveness for white people nor approved the inactivity of black people; her particular purpose was to remove the terms “racism” and “segregation” from the society’s consciousness and establish peace and equality in the USA.
The elements of cultural knowledge acquired and learned in the childhood influenced on the further Moody's development, namely on her social activity at college and as a member of Civil Rights Movement. The woman was exceptionally concerned about the problem of discrimination and segregation that she barely could avoid taking into consideration. The aspiration to fight for the rights of black community became apparent when Anne entered a college. There she finally found herself and understood her true mission in life. Thus, the college became an outlet for Anne Moody, where she could express her opinions that harassed her from the childhood.
In addition, the woman also found a reflection of her ideas in the programs of the Civil Rights Movement. Specifically, it was a great opportunity for her to implement her goals in life. Within a short period, she became an outspoken activist by applying the experience and cultural knowledge that she once obtained as a child. Thus, the woman mentioned in her book “I had found something outside myself that gave meaning to my life” (Moody, 2011, p. 235). Therefore, Anne Moody was satisfied with her position in life, as she finally attained something she desires for many years: a chance to help black people and to defend their civil rights.
In summary, Anne Moody had brought a significant contribution to the history of the USA by fighting for the rights of the African Americans. Moreover, by writing the book Coming of Age in Mississippi she revealed the critical situation of the predominance of racism and segregation in the country at that time. As a result, Anne Moody was a genuine fighter for justice, and her life path can be considered as the excellent example for the modern society.