As if growing up wasn't turbulent enough, Anne Moody grew up during a crucial time in American History. It was during this time that race and civil rights took center stage in her home state of Mississippi. Young women face many physical and emotional changes during their teenage years, regardless of when and where they grew up. However, for Anne Moody, and other young black women, there was the instability in race relations to deal with as well.
During her younger childhood years, Anne was never exposed to the reality of how blacks and whites truly got along. Fortunately for her, she was never the victim of a racially motivated attack. Therefore she never truly knew how bad it was. She was always surrounded with white people who saw the best in her, and treated her with equality. The white people she worked for, as a young child, gave her many opportunities that most whites wouldn't even consider offering their black "help."
On top of all these tolerable experiences with white people, she was never introduced to the reality of race relations at home. Her mother and Raymond never talked about racial occurrences around their community. She was never taught by her family, why it was that the color of her skin could get her killed. Whenever she approached her mother about things that were going on outside their home, her mother came up with some quick excuse of why it was none of her business and to just forget about it. "You go
on to work before you is late. And don't let on like you know nothing about that boy being killed before Mrs. Burke them. Just do your work like you don't know nothing. That boy's a lot better off in heaven than he is here."1
Anne Moody was a typical teenager, in the sense that she struggled through self- evaluation and developing external relationships. One of those external relationships was with her mother. Anne had always maintained a close relationship with her mother. She respected her work ethic and her determination to raise her family the best she could. Yet most young women face a time in their lives when their relationship with their mother is strained. This somewhat natural occurrence took place, but was intensified by Anne's own discovery of how the world really worked, in terms of race relations. I think that Anne always found her mother's lack of communication, regarding the race situation, as a weakness. This created more distrust for her mother at an already vulnerable time in her life.
Anne was curious about why murders, lynching and mysterious fires were taking place in and around her community. Every time she went to her mother for advice or discussion on race relations, she was immediately redirected to a subject less controversial. If Anne wanted to figure any of these issues out, she was going to have to do it on her own.
At this point, Anne found herself searching for answers. Not only about racial tensions but about her developing body. She was entering a new phase in her...