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  • Topic #1

    In Coming of Age in Mississippi, autobiographer Anne Moody explains how her response to a poverty-stricken childhood in the racist South turns her into an activist for black rights rather than a victim of her times. Describe how Moody's use of personal experiences growing up in the South helped transform her into an activist.

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    I. Thesis statement: In Coming of Age in Mississippi, Moody depicts how her poor childhood makes her angry enough to try and change circumstances for blacks. Rather than live as a victim of circumstance, she becomes an activist.

    II. Example of how Moody’s family is victimized
    A. Poverty and hunger
    B. Plantation and farm life—poor wages, difficult work
    C. Childhood labor
    D. Unstable father figures
    E. Inter-black class conflicts—dark skinned vs. pale blacks and mulattos

    III. Example of how blacks throughout the South are victimized
    A. Segregation of churches, schools, retail stores, public transport
    B. Lynchings and Klan activity
    C. Low-paying work
    D. Lack of a vote or police protection

    IV. Moody’s response to life in Centreville
    A. Academic drive and establishing mentor contacts outside the family
    B. Resisting mistreatment and not absorbing the subservient role taught her
    C. Leaving the city to live in larger communities and earn more money
    D. Questioning the mistreatment of blacks in her community

    V. Moody’s response to racism throughout the South
    A. Joining “the movement” in college
    1. Participating in the Woolworth’s sit-in for equal treatment
    2. Working to win the black vote
    3. Working to end black poverty—gathering food and clothing
    B. Traveling to Washington, D.C., for national rallies
    C. Setting an example for younger generations
    D. Making some impression on her family

    VI. Conclusion
    A. Family’s rejection or lack of understanding of her work
    B. Inability to return to Centreville due to death threats
    C. Social acceptance and family role as part of “the movement”

  • Topic #2

    In Coming of Age in Mississippi , Moody notes in several instances that one of the problems with racism in the South is black complicity with it. She encounters the problem in her family and with others she meets while involved in the civil rights movement and wants blacks to get angry and take more responsibility for their own fate. Write a paper describing how southern blacks, according to Moody,...

(The entire section contains 603 words.)

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Critical Context (Masterplots II: African American Literature)


Critical Overview