I strive to live realistically with a streak of optimism, I have almost perfected the practice of finding the silver lining life’s dark clouds. This recent experience is not exception, here in Florida the week started off with a category-four hurricane barreling down on the state. Hurricane season happens every year so I went about making preparations for the “passing storm.” The people in town were buzzing with anticipation and worry but I simply smiled thinking to myself that the downtime would be a good opportunity to catch up on some reading. The night the storm arrived I selected Anne Moody’s book, Coming of age in Mississippi.
The very first page grabbed my attention for more reasons than one. The process of writing and researching my book the Angry Black Woman Syndrome Revisited heightened my awareness of material that may shed new light on the ‘black’ woman’s experience in America contributing to her perceived angry disposition. In her autobiography Anne Moody gives the reader a candid look at life in the Deep South, she describes an environment that was hostile to ‘black’ people in general, economically hostile to ‘black’ men and sexually exploitive to ‘black’ women. As a reader I felt and connected with a lot of Moody’s experience the aspects of her being unwilling or unable to settle, her anger being a result of witnessing oppression, murder, and injustices on an ongoing basis.
“I was sick of pretending, sick of selling my feeling for a dollar a day.”
Her life’s story gives a vivid depiction of the cycle of poverty and how one issue or shortcoming affects another. Her first memories start off on Mr. Carter’s plantation where at the tender age of four she remembers her mother and father working as field hands while she and her infant sister were left in the hands of their uncle George Lee who was just an eight-year-old child. The story is told in four segments, Childhood, High school, College, The Movement. Much of her experience proves hard to digest, a young ‘black’ girl compelled to start working at the age of nine to support herself in an effort to help her family out after her father abandoned them. Her unsettling relationships and distrust of ‘black’ men because of all that she has witnessed during her childhood. Her unprocessed emotions manifest in different ways, she makes mention of feeling comfortable with befriending effeminate black men who were more like women and posed no immediate threat to her.
“I had never heard of a single affair in Centerville between a Negro man and a white woman. It was almost impossible for such an affair to take place. Negro men did not have access to ‘white’ woman. Whereas almost every white man in town had a Negro woman in his kitchen or nursing his babies.”
Moody’s perspective on the civil rights movement as someone who had boots on the ground provides down to earth view of a time that is often sensationalized by later generations. Her activism, sit-ins, marches, and poverty are detailed and exposed for all to see.
“I sat on the grass and listened to the speakers, to discover we had “dreamers” instead of leaders leaning us. Just about every one of them stood up there dreaming. Martin Luther King went on and on talking about his dream. I sat there thinking that in Canton we never had time to sleep, much less dream.”
The residues of slavery permeated her tale so heavily that it makes her story a treasure trove for researchers. I am pleased that I chose to ride out the storm with this story in hand. Anne Moody died in February of 2015 at the age of 74. Coincidently, I happened to finish reading her autobiography on the day of the memorial of her birth, September 15, she would have been 77 years old. Anne Moody expressed feelings of being a loner, angry, helpless yet empowered in some spaces. She sought to do something with the hand she was dealt in this life and her story can add perspective to those seeking to understand more about the ‘black’ female experience in the segregated south of the mid-nineteen hundreds.
Emunah Y’srael is an expert in DIY Soul Improvement with over 20 years actively dedicated to her own soul journey. She is the creator of the a myriad of self-improvement projects. Emunah has authored to date four books, all available on amazon.
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