Coming of Age in Mississippi

by Anne Moody

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What was it like to be a civil rights worker in Mississippi during the 1960s?

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I think that Moody's work brings out how difficult it is to actually be a Civil Rights Movement worker during the 1960s.  Part of her ending of "wonder" lies in the fact that there are so many obstacles to such a vocation.  On one hand, there is the embedded element of racism in the Southern part of the United States.  Anne endures much in the way of difficulty in trying to combat this element and the intense inertia that accompanies it, preventing change in the American South.  Along these lines, Anne finds a level of resistance in the elder African- Americans who have accepted their lot in life as one where segregation and discrimination is evident.  In these individuals, the hardships that Anne and others like her see as wrong and intolerable have simply become an accepted part of consciousness.  At the same time, Anne has challenges with the movement itself and its inability to reach and convert all African- Americans in the different narratives featured. The violence against innocent people of color, such as children, helps to reveal that Civil Rights Workers like Anne are in a complex and agonizing situation.  On one hand, they have to make steps and progress against a formidable enemy of racism and discrimination and whenever progress is made, the resistance is intense, almost making it not worth the struggle.  In this setting, Anne and other Civil Rights Workers like her find themselves, making their state of being the very definition of "challenging."

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