Southern Mississippi Summary

1233 Words5 Pages
For the black residents of rural Mississippi, systemic racism was all too common in the 1940s and 1950s. Blacks were persecuted in all areas of life, including attacks to their economic and social security. Furthermore; direct attacks on southern African Americans fueled fear that would lead to the total division between blacks and whites in every aspect of life. The fear of deadly attacks and lynchings was used to directly intimidate southern blacks, who increasingly became domicile and subservient with the lack of opportunity and hope. It is in this climate that Anne Moody learned to break the status-quo that existed in poor rural Mississippi through sure willpower and hard work. The memoir demonstrates that Anne is consistently driven by…show more content…
Her ability to consistently attain successful work throughout her life elevated her status in the community. The work that allowed her to achieve standing also served as the catalyst for her initial questioning of her surroundings, and allowed her to fully realize the extent that the system was stacked against black Americans. However; this realization led to an empowerment capable of fighting the forces that worked against her, rather than the fearful subservience of fellow members of the Black community, including her mother and younger sister. The initial years detailed in the memoir identify a great juxtaposition in describing the situation that Southern blacks found themselves in. Forced to work on tenant farms, blacks found themselves in a situation that was akin to slavery. Wealthy landowners allowed a tenant to work land in return for a share of profits based on crop returns, with tenants forced into a life of subsistence farming and were consistently at the whim of seasonal variations in climate. Anne Moody lived in on one of these farms with her mother Toosweet, her father Diddly and her younger sister Adline. Her mother worked as a maid for a wealthy white land owning family as well as working in a cafe and her…show more content…
Encouraged by Mrs. Claiborne and Toosweet, Anne pushed onwards with school and began to receive good grades, even beginning competitions with fellow classmates for the best average. Although the quality of schooling was horrific for black students in the south, Anne took pride in her grades and wage, deriving social standing at a young age in the community. Her competitive nature can be viewed as the first strategy she developed to combat the white supremacy that was dominant in the south. It was her labour, in school and in work that could bring distinguishment in a community where the right to dignity and status had been systematically destroyed by white supremacy. Anne displays this pride in her memoir following a long summer of farming with Raymond. While she enjoyed the work farming entailed, she concluded, “I knew if I got involved in farming, I’d be just like Mama and the rest of them, and that I would never have a change” (89). Anne’s distancing from her parents, and by extension the African community as a whole, shows her desire for change and as a rebellion of traditional ways. Another institution of society where the African community as a whole combated supremacy together was in its many churches and preachers. The unity of the community heralded by African American preachers was a vital tool developed by the
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