Anne Moody’s Journey Essay
The first step Moody took on her journey of activism was to join the NAACP and SNCC. The majority of work done by Anne Moody while working for these two organizations was voter registration drives.
During Moody’s stay at college, she would often travel to the delta and stay in the Freedom House. Here, Moody and her colleagues would plan and execute the voter registration drives. Moody would also organize rallies. Unfortunately, these rallies were poorly attended, and not much was accomplished. Many Negroes were too afraid to vote and did not attend the rallies because of the threat of losing their jobs.
The tactic of making Negroes aware of their civil rights in a nonviolent and passive manner failed from the beginning of Moody’s inception into the Movement. Moody’s “nonviolent” sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter may be her most famous act not just during the Movement, but possibly her life. The idea behind the sit-in was to request service at the segregated lunch counter of Woolworth’s. As the sit-in progressed, the white population became more aware of what was happening, and they started heckling and threatening Moody and her fellow activists. Nonviolence turned to violence when a white man rushed Memphis, one of the sit-in members.He was beaten up and arrested.
Moody was dragged out by her hair, and her friend was taken from her seat by force. A few days after the sit-in, a group of Negro ministers went to the mayor with demands. The mayor ignored them. The nonviolent sit-in was supposed to be a message to the community and the country.
Unfortunately, the sit-in, in the eyes of Anne Moody, was a failure because it had accomplished nothing. The March on Washington should have been a high point for civil rights activists everywhere, but for Moody, it was another disappointment. She recalls, “Thousands of people just took off, leaving most of their leaders at the podium.It was kind of funny to watch the leaders run to overtake the march. The way some of them had been leading the people in the past, perhaps the people were better off leading themselves” (Moody, 334). Moody had begun to realize that passive strategies were not an effective and practical way to change laws.
She had begun to realize that Negroes might have to meet violence with violence if they ever wanted their voices to be heard. During Martin Luther King’s speech, Moody thinks, “We had ‘dreamers’ instead of leaders leading us” (Moody, 335). Her uncertainty with the Movement had reached an all time high by this point.She believed that the leaders were out of touch with the black community, as seen by the emphasis on voter registration rather than the poverty in the rural south.
On her way back to Mississippi, Moody wondered if she and the other 250,000 people at the march had made any impact on the government, a clear indication that her confidence was slowly decaying. Moody had begun working in Canton, Mississippi rallying the local black population and canvassing for voter registration. Every time it appeared that progress was made, there was a catastrophe. A church was bombed, people were beaten and killed, and black women were raped.The organizations in Mississippi decided to create a “Freedom Vote. ” The Freedom Vote resulted in 80,000 blacks voting.
Unfortunately, there were 400,000 blacks of voting age living in Mississippi. After the voting campaign, Moody was worn out and tired. She left the movement and made her way to New Orleans to stay with her grandmother and sister. After some time passed, she received her diploma from Tugaloo College and found herself back in Canton. She was persuaded to go to Washington and testify about the racism in Mississippi.
On the bus, people were singing freedom songs in high spirits.A fellow activist named Gene turned to Moody and said, “We’re gonna git things straight in Washington, huh? ” (Moody, 424). She thought to herself, “I wonder. I really wonder” (Moody, 424).
The statement shows Moody’s doubts and frustration with the Movement. She had nothing to show for all her hard work in Canton, and there was no progress for equality on a national scale. By this time, Moody believed that more radical and militant action was required in order to gain the civil rights that whites had enjoyed for hundreds of years. Works Cited Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi.
New York: Bantam Dell, 1968.