COMING OF AGE IN MISSISSIPPI: An Autobiography by Ann Moody
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Ann Moody was born and grew up black in a small town in Mississippi where her Mama and Daddy sharecropped cotton before he left and Mama moved into town. Centerville, to work in a cafe and produce a string of fatherless children. Ann learned in the balcony of the movie theatre that ""whiteness"" made everything better; at home she listened to ""a nigger can't make it no way""; at ten she was working in a household and later, in high school, for the meanest woman in town when Emmet Till was killed. At 15, she came of age and began to hate people, particularly her own who didn't stand up--or talk back. Saving up money for college, spending, a summer in a chicken factory where other workers were deader than the chickens, she finally went on to college in Natchez (prison strictures) and later Tougalou where she became involved with the NAACP, SNCC, CORE--the Movement, participating in the tragedy of the times from the murder of Medgar Evers to that of her own uncle. . . . On the one hand this memoir reflects the collective experience in an inescapably relevant fashion (""A world this evil should be black, blind and deaf without any feelings at all. Then there won't be any color to be seen, no hatred to be heard, and no pain to be felt""). On the other, there's a counterpoint of the touchingly personal--after all these incidents--her younger sister brings her a pretty dress for graduation. Thus this book should make its identification on any terms with readers of any age--it's supremely involving and written with stripped simplicity; there's not a single false high note.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1968
Publisher: Dial