Are archival resources used in Coming of Age in Mississippi?

There are no explicit mentions of archival resources in Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi. As Moody is writing an autobiography about her own personal involvement with the Civil Rights movement, including archival resources about the period isn’t necessary.

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There is no explicit mention of archival resources—or any sources—in Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi. There’s no footnotes, end notes, or works cited page. At first, this might seem odd. Moody’s book covers a historically imperative period. It details the NAACP and the burgeoning Civil Rights movement in the United States. It seems like these topics would require numerous sources—archival or otherwise—in order to address them in a scholarly, erudite fashion.

Yet perhaps the reason why Moody doesn’t require archival resources (or sources of another kind) is because Coming of Age in the Mississippi is not a history book. Moody’s aim is not to present an objective, third-person overview of the Civil Rights movement in the American South during the middle of the twentieth century. Remember, Moody is writing an autobiography. She’s writing about her own life and personal experiences, which include her deep ties to antiracist activism.

In this case, it makes sense that Moody doesn’t consult archival resources or other sources: she doesn’t need to, she was there. Take the sit-in at Woolworth’s segregated lunch counter: it might be strange for her to cite a source when she personally participated in the action. Archival resources are unnecessary since, in a way, Moody is the archival resource.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 31, 2020
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