Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody

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What are the most important events in the book Coming of Age in Mississippi?

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bmadnick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The book is divided into four parts that reflect the life of Anne Moody. Part One is about her childhood growing up near the town of Centreville, Mississippi. Her dad leaves the family, and her mom struggles to support them. Her mom remarries Raymond. Anne is an excellent student in school and starts playing basketball.

Part Two deals with Anne's high school years. This is when Anne realizes how severe the racial problems and violence are in Mississippi. She first experiences fear she'll be killed. Anne focuses on her studies and work. In her last year, her step-father, Raymond, shows his desire for Anne sexually, so she goes to live with her father and his wife.

Part Three is her college years. She goes to a two-year junior college on a basketball scholarship. She leads a boycott of the school cafeteria, her first act of political activism. She then goes to Tugaloo College and joins the NAACP. She helps register African-Americans to vote.

Part Four deals with the Civil Rights Movement. Anne is one of the students who stage a sit-in at Woolworth's lunch counter. Anne becomes more involved in the movement, attending the March on Washington, D.C. in 1963. She learns she is a target of the Ku Klux Klan. At the end, she joins a group going to Washington, D.C. to testify before Congress.

These are very general events of the book. Please read the book because it is very much worth it. For more in-depth information, go to the link below.

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janeyb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are many important events in the book Coming of Age in Mississippi. I think the best way to look for important events is to consider the themes in the novel, and then the events that highlighted them. Take racism, for example. Clearly, racism is an important theme in the novel, so you know that the events surrounding the theme are important for the novel as well. For example, under the theme of racism Anne almost turns down the scholarship to Tugaloo because she hears that all the other students are mulattos and fears that they will mistreat her. This also leads to Anne joining the civil rights movement, one of her most important actions.
ANother theme is the theme of poverty. Anne and her family are very poor, so poor, that even though anne is prom queen she almost doesn't go to the dance because she cannot afford a dress, that leads to Anne, with her first paycheck, buys school clothes and supplies for two girls who are unable to attend school without these necessities. She sees in these girls echoes of her own life. This is an important event.
FInally, one last theme is family. Moody's relationship with her family is not a good one, in fact, her relationship with her stepfather caused her to leave home when she was still in high school, clearly an important event.
If you look at the themes, it should help you develop even more important events throughout the novel.

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laurniko eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Important events in Coming of Age in Mississippi chart Anne Moody's young years and the progress of her life as she grew up.

Anne's father leaves their family. This makes her home life less stable and introduces her stepfather into her life. Her mother cannot afford to feed her children without the income that her husband provided. Because of this, Anne is forced to start work at a young age.

In high school, Anne is chosen as homecoming queen, plays basketball, and gets good grades. This directly leads to her attending college on a scholarship. Without the scholarship, it's possible that she wouldn't have been able to attend even with her hard work.

Anne lives through violence that harms people around her simply because they're black. This influences her later activist work and helps her understand the problems with racist attitudes in America. Boycotting the cafeteria at her college also helps her better understand how to be an activist and how to fight back against unfair practices.

Being put on a KKK blacklist was also an important moment in Anne's life. It demonstrates how her activism posed a threat to her and her family. It also shows the incredible strength that it took her to continue fighting despite the threats.

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