Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody

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Summary and Analysis College: Chapters 18 – 21

New Characters
Mrs. Evans: The repressive schoolmarm at Natchez College.

Miss Harris: The cook Anne works for at Natchez College.

Miss Adams: The coach of Natchez College basketball team and strict disciplinarian.

Keemp: Anne’s first boyfriend.

President Buck: The president of Natchez College.

Trotter: The dark-skinned Tougaloo roommate who introduces Anne to the NAACP.

Dave Jones: One of Anne's boyfriends at Tougaloo.

Joan Trumpauer: A Tougaloo classmate involved in SNCC.

Rose: One of Anne's classmates who is also involved in SNCC and with whom Anne stages a bus stop sit-in.

After graduating from high school, Anne returns to New Orleans to look for work. Because Emma was shot in the foot, her allowance from Diddly was reduced, Anne is broke. She goes to work at Maple Hill but isn’t making much money, so she writes to her basketball coach and learns that she qualifies to apply for a basketball scholarship.

She applies for a scholarship and is accepted at Natchez College, a conservative religious school in Natchez, Mississippi, where women are rarely allowed to walk unescorted by faculty or alone. As soon as Anne arrives, she is suspicious of the environment and secures a job in the kitchen where she butts heads with Miss Harris, the head cook whom she considers an “Uncle Tom.” She is intimidated by the size of the large women on her basketball team and irritated with the juvenile rules set by Miss Adams, the coach. When Miss Adams tries to punish her when she is sick, Anne defies her authority and discusses it with both the campus dean and president. While she succeeds in getting around Miss Adams, she is demoted on the basketball team.

A few months into school, she decides she feels like a prisoner and comes to see that the environment is far more repressive than what she knew in Centreville, even among her racist employers. She debates not returning after her first year, but she knows she can’t afford a better school and so is forced to return. During her second year on campus, she begins dating Keemp, a male basketball star who many classmates covet. She resists kissing him but finally gives in after dating him for many months. However, she dislikes the collegiate pressure surrounding relationships, and she says that although they have become good friends, she still must break up with him.

She encounters further trouble on campus when students discover maggots in their food. Anne (now known as “Moody” to some friends) knows where Miss Harris keeps food from her short-lived days working in the campus kitchen, and organizes a dining hall strike to counter the unsanitary conditions there. Again Anne must deal with the school administration, but it turns out they actually like her despite the trouble she causes, and the president helps her pursue a scholarship at Tougaloo College, the best college in the state for blacks.

The summer before entering Tougaloo, Anne worries about whether she is “too black” to attend; she has heard most students are paler-skinned and wealthy blacks. But when she arrives on campus, she realizes that this is partially a myth and that students of different skin colors get along. She organizes a talent show tumbling routine with other newcomer students and manages to befriend her roommates and others. One of her roommates, Trotter, informs her that she is secretary of the campus NAACP chapter, and Anne decides to join. The night before her first meeting, she stays awake thinking of the injustices from Centreville.

Anne attends rallies, hears Medgar Evers speak, and becomes so involved with student activism that for the first time her grades begin to suffer. She encounters financial trouble but manages to get enough money to attend summer school to compensate for credits she needs to make up. Meanwhile, she begins working with a fellow student, Joan Trumpauer, on a black voter registration drive through an organization called the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC. She learns...

(The entire section is 1,193 words.)