Anne Moody and the Civil Rights Movement

Anne Moody provides a thorough account of her involvement in the American civil rights campaigns in her book Coming of Age in Mississippi. She describes how she took part in demonstrations to combat discrimination against African American communities. The purpose of these civil rights campaigns was to address societal equality problems. Moody joined the civil rights struggle to change society, along with many other young people in the US. Like white people, the young people desired equality and independence.

Inspiration for Joining the Civil Rights Movement

Young people were inspired to join the civil rights campaigns for a variety of factors. For instance, they yearned for liberty and parity with white people in terms of liberties.The young people were fighting for the rights of the people of color. Besides, a majority of them were fighting against inequalities in the state. They felt that the black people were being treated with a lot of prejudice in the society and for that reason; they joined the civil rights movements to fight against the racial, economic, and social segregation against the black people and bring change in Mississippi.

The Role of Parents in Motivating Young People

Another reason that motivated the young people to join the civil rights movement was the life of their parents. Moody watched how her mother suffered in poverty and how she failed to stand up and fight for her rights. As a result, this added more anger to her as a student in Mississippi that catapulted her into joining civil rights demonstrations. These young people felt that since they could not be heard in a civil manner, they had to go on the streets and force the state to stop racial segregation and other forms of discrimination against the black people in Mississippi.

Challenges Faced by Young Civil Rights Activists

In their fight for equal rights in the society, the young people faced several challenges. First, they faced the problem of lack of support from the black community. The young people in the movement had several projects put in place to bring social change to the black community. However, the black people refused to support their NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) projects they were working on because of the fear of change. As a result, it took Moody and other young civil rights activists to convince the black community to support the SNCC projects, and this was a setback for them. Nevertheless, in the end, they received the support and the projects were successful, an example of the projects in the Freedom Summer project which they supported fully.

In addition, they faced the challenge of lack of support from their parents. This is evident with Moody's story when her mother insists that she should not participate in the demonstrations. Her mother feared what could happen to her if she stands up against oppression and this is why Moody's family lived under oppression and poverty for several years. However, despite such challenges, Anne Moody joined the civil rights movements and participated in the protests because she hoped for a better life as an African American in Mississippi.

The Significance of Young People in the Civil Rights Movement

The roles played by the young people in the civil rights movements were significant and compelling. Since a good number of them had postponed their formal education to join other activists, the movement was not disruptive to the lives of the black community because their parents could still go to work and fend for their families. By joining the movements, most of the young people were arrested, and for fear of more protests, their voices were heard and some changes made in the state.

The young people played a significant role in the civil rights movement because with their constant demonstrations and with no fear of being hurt, arrested, and killed, a change was brought to black people. After several protests from the young people, change began within Mississippi meaning their involvement was productive.

The Impact of Race and Gender on the Young Activists

Race and gender shaped the experiences of the young people who joined the civil rights movements because they faced discrimination everywhere they went because of their race, color, and gender. An example is an experience Moody had at Woolworth. While at Woolworth, they could not be served because they were not sited at the back counter where the black people were served. In addition, when the white students walked in, they heckled at them chanting all sorts of anti-Negro slogans, and they even took them off their seats under the watch of the police. After this experience, Moody could not take this segregation anymore, and this is evident when she says, "all I could think have was how sick Mississippi whites were. They believed so much in the segregated Southern way of life; they would kill to preserve it" (Moody). She felt threatened because of her gender and race, and this is the reason she joined the civil rights movement to fight against this discrimination. Together with other young people, Moody participated in demonstrations to fight for the rights of the black community.


Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York: Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1968.

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