The author, Ann Moody describes how it is to grow up in Mississippi as a black person from her personal life experience. Ann born in 1940 describes she grew up during Civil Rights movement where she had to live with the prejudice from whites and blacks. Discrimination was the biggest issue that affected many blacks at that time since they as seen by the whites are less superior or rather inferior to the whites. The book depicts her growing up from as young as 4yrs to the age of 24yrs which are actually the hardest times for a black and at the same time poor girl to live.
The system of discrimination at the time was complex and based on certain factors that enabled it to continue oppressing and frustrating Blacks. The system depends on advantages white people have political, economic, social aspects, and terrorism over the black people. These, are the pillars of the racist system of discrimination that made it possible for the whites to control black people.
Economic issues deal with labor, capital, and money involved. The black people were poor and started working at very tender ages. Anne says she gets her first job when she is only 9 years old and it is about her sweeping a white woman’s sidewalks and porch. The white woman pays her 2 gallons of milk and 75 cents for a whole week’s work. She then decides to discontinue the work since the woman starts making her clean the entire house all by herself. This means that black children are first get into to a kind of slavery of working for the white people at a very tender age. The idea of being inferior to white people is in black people at very young ages and so they grow up with that same idea to adult hood and the same happens to the coming generation. Secondly, black people are paid peanuts. The 75 cents and 2 gallons of milk Ann says she is paid is very little wage that is below average yet the work that they do is too much. Third, the white woman forces Ann to clean up the whole house just because she is her employer because she has the financial advantage.
Blacks only earn money by working for the white man. Ann says that every black person works for a white man. An example is her mother who provisions for her family through domestic chores like cooking, cleaning, and carrying out other housekeeping jobs for the white family. This means that the only way a black man can get money is through working for a white man.
They include social interaction, culture, and social relations. Anne says that there was segregation of schools, churches and even the theatres they went. The blacks and whites went to different institutions, religious centers, and even different social meeting places. This shows the black man that there is a clear difference between whites and blacks and that they are not the same in any way. It also prevents the black man from getting to realize that he or she is similar to the White man since they do not get to interact with the white people.
Socially, their white counterparts treat black people disrespectfully. Ann says that Negro women dust furniture, clean the baths and vacuum the rooms, make beds, and make a day, three meals for the white families, but when eating time comes, Negro women wait on one side for white people to serve and eat first. This shows the blacks that they are inferior to the whites yet they themselves mad the food that the white people are eating.
Ann also gets into trouble at the main theatres main entrance as she tries to go in with the white children upstairs while she is supposed to go to the balcony downstairs. Jerry one of Ann’s classmates, is beat by the mayor for talking obscenely to a white operator when he makes a phone call. This shows that black people have socially no rights to mingle with other white kids and they have no freedom of speech as of Jerry’s case. Also white kids at her school sing ant -Negro songs.
It is organized use of often violence and terror to force a person to do something. Ann says that one the white boys made a rope into a hangman’s noose. They then tried to put it around their necks forcefully, which really scared her and her friends.
Ann also says that a white man burned down the Taplin’ with the whole family inside. Samuel O’ Quinn assassination is just when he was walking in his neighborhood. Emmett also killed by hanging when whites suspected hews having a sexual-relationship with a white woman. These are just but few black people who were murdered by white people.
Negroes being injured slaughtered, and the widespread violence makes Ann to fear for her safety. This made her change her name when she was entering Willis High.
These acts of terrorism made blacks fear to rise up against the white man since they feared what fate would follow them. Most of those who were opposing the white man as Ann says would be in the river floating with bullet holes in their bodies, or either hanged by the rope. These acts of terror instilled fear in blacks even Ann says after the incident where the Taplin family died.
The power of fear made every black man controllable by the white man since the white man can kill a black person and the blacks cannot do anything about it. This further cements white peoples rule over the blacks hence the system of racial discrimination continues and blacks are still subjects to the whites.
Politics is the science or art of running state affairs also including behavior inside civil governments. Local authorities will not take any legal actions when a white man hurt or kills a black man. Example is when a white man torches the Taplin’s house plus with them inside. This count for murder but nothing happens to him and life continued as usual. This shows that the white man is untouchable even by the legal systems.
The killing of Samuel O’Quinn was because the white men suspected he was one the members of the movement NAACP. The NACCP was a threat to the system of racial discrimination and the white men had to eliminate and destroy it Ann says that she got first-hand experience during demonstrations of how they were jailed and arrested, fired shotguns at, police dogs, fire horses, billy clubs and the deadly force used to destroy NACCP.
NACCP lost Emmett’s case even though there was enough evidence supporting their case against the white who killed him. This means that it was also in the higher levels that white’s cannot be touched.
The leaders also leading by example showed racial discrimination. The sheriff of the town after finding out that Jerry, Ann’s friend, had obscenely spoken to a white female operator went and beat him up. This act encourages the white people to racially abuse the blacks since if the sheriff can do it, every white person can also do it.
These acts demonstrate that the political authority of the country and in specific South Mississippi was bad and favors one race only, which are the whites and in-turn favoring oppression of the blacks. This also made the system of racial discrimination continue in those times since every threat to the white people.
Thomas, Bell. Out of This Furnace: A Novel of Immigrant Labor in America. New York: Nerd Press, 2008.
Cozzens, Lisa. African American History. Brown v. Board of Education, 2009.
St. Rosemary Educational Institution. Aunt Moody & Coming of Age in Mississippi Analysis. Oxford Publishers, 2008.