Understanding the African American Civil Rights Movement Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Coming of Age in Mississippi" by Anne Moody

In her article "Coming of Age in Mississippi," dating from 1968, Anne Moody tells the story of her participation in a blood shed sit-in demonstration at Woolworth's lunch counter. She was a student at Toogalo College in Jackson Mississippi, member of the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). The Association, under the leadership of John Salter, Moody's social science professor, undertook a boycott in public stores as one of the numerous forms of manifestation within the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. The story begins with three young African-American students were peacefully asking for the right to be served at the same lunch counter where the whites were sitting.

With a lack of sentimentality and with deliberate detachment, Moody succeeds to present a realistic picture of the heaviest segregated place on earth in the sixties, Jackson, Mississippi. Moody, along with a few fellow students, sat on stools, at the counter where only the white people were supposed to be served and confronted the mob. All along her story, the author underlines the fact that the mass media and the police were present, but did not interfere to protect the innocents.

In spite of the calm and detached tone, the author describes events full of acts of violence and hatred. White people indoctrinated over centuries to think that their African-American fellow citizens were a menace to their very existence unless they were treating them like they were subhuman, answered with rage. They proved ready to kill the young girls and boys who were acting like they deserved to be looked at as actual human beings, equal in every right.

Anne Moody, who has lived throughout the most difficult times for the Civil Rights Movement in the South, successfully depicts the scene at Woolworth's so that all those who have never been there to be able to grasp the meaning of what happened that day. An entire mob of white people fighting like enraged animals against three unarmed and unresponsive black students who were refusing to come down from the stools at the counter. For most of the article, Moody contends herself with describing the scene as a distant impartial witness. She describes some powerful images, loaded with violence, shed with blood, where she is one of the victims. In doing so, she brings out all the madness from such events happening in the second half of the twentieth century in one of the best-developed countries on earth. Additionally, the scene Moody describes also has the component of humiliation. The young people daring to ask for their right to sit at the same end of the counter with the rest are not only attacked and almost killed, but also humiliated. The ferocity of those who thought their places in society were threatened knows no limit.

Now, in hindsight, it is easy to judge…

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