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Coming Of Age In Mississippi

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Coming of Age in Mississippi is an eye-opening testimony to the racism that exemplified what it was like to be an African American living in the south before and after the civil rights movements in the 50's and 60's. African Americans had been given voting and citizen rights, but did not and to a certain degree, still can not enjoy these rights. The southern economy that Anne Moody was born into in the 40's was one that was governed and ruled by a bunch of whites, many of which who very prejudice. This caused for a very hard up bringing for a young African American girl. Coming of Age in Mississippi broadened horizon of what it was like for African Americans to live during the 40's, 50', and 60's.

There are many traces of slavery throughout this book. I think that one of the biggest examples is in the first pages of the book describing where she lives and what her parents do. She lived on a plantation with her parents in a two room wooden shack. Their house was on the top of the hill along with the Carter's plantation. The other blacks that worked there all lived at the bottom of the hill. Her parents were farmers for Mr. Cater, and grew corn and cotton. Another example of slavery is when Ann is beaten by her father for something that she did not even do. I think this is kind of like when slaves got beaten for things that they could not help; such as getting tired or not working fast enough. Another instance is when Anne goes to the movies with two of her white neighbors and she has to sit in a different place than them. This does not exactly show slavery but it says that white people are better.

Religion was a major role in the life of Anne Moody. It kind of just helped her get away for a little bit. I think that with all of the frustrations of school, home life, and work it was just a place for her to hang out and have fun. Also, I think that since she was busy with everything else in her life that she could not really hang out with friends, church was a place for her to make some friends. Religion was not just a factor for Anne, but for many of the slaves during the Civil War. The slaves would use religion as a way to get away from the harsh realities of their lives. Also they viewed Jesus and Moses as heroes who lead their people to freedom. Their religion was aimed toward the real world rather than being in heaven when they died. Basically, their singing or "praying" was about being delivered from slavery. They also used hymns as special codes for meeting points while trying to escape.

To me the song Swanee River has a different meaning to the song on page 129. To me Swanne River was talking about being at home and a child, being around the familiar faces; your family and friends. Also, I think that home refers to being back on the plantation where they know they have security. Not in the sense of being safe, but being where they know and somewhat have fun. The song on page 129 about "god's hebben" means to me that black and white people are the same, minus the color of their skin. It is saying that every one is the same in God's eyes, and when we get to heaven we are all going to look the same. To me the Swanee River song tells me that the black people miss being at home and as much as they hated being owned by whites they miss being on the plantation. The song about heaven basically tells me that the black people had more sense than the whites. In my eyes every one is the same, and this song just reiterates the fact that the blacks really know what life is all about.

There are many different attitudes about race in this book. In the childhood part of the book Anne does not really understand the difference except that she was black and other people were white. For example, when she was with Ed and some white boys playing at the pond and she almost got her head caught in the fence the white boy helped her. "Then the white boy and I followed Ed up the hill holding hands."[(pg.25)] At this point Anne had not yet been exposed to the harsh realities of what life was really like. She definitely had no mixed feelings about blacks early in her life because that was how she was always around and associated with. However, later in life her attitude defiantly changes. I really do not find this surprising because she goes through some very dramatic



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