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Pilmer 1

Nicole Pilmer
21 April 2015
AAS 326 Section 1
Anne Moody and Simeon Wright both grew up in rural towns of Mississippi
during the 1940s and 1950s when Jim Crow Laws were present and popular throughout
the state. The similarities between the two are present with their beliefs on segregation,
however they differed in their ways of achieving integration. Another similarity the two
share is that they both grew up working through their childhood. Both of these people
suffered from the violence and fear that was present during this time period at the hands
of the white community, and because of their personal stories on segregation they were
able to impact the Civil Rights Movement. Their legacies and the hardships they faced
still live on today.
Moody grew up in Centreville and worked throughout her childhood for the white
women of the town to help support her mother and siblings. While working for white
families she was able to get a glimpse of the way they lived, and how much it differed
from her own upbringing. As a child she does not understand the differences between
the races, except for the fact that African Americans work for the Whites, and never fully
grasps the idea of segregation or the reasons for it. She went so far as to play doctor with
the white neighbors to see what them made them so different, but came to realize that
they were the exact same as her. School came to easy to her, so she began to use that to
her advantage with the dream of being able to escape her hometown and go to college.
Upon hearing of the death of Emmett Till in 1955, Anne begins to learn more about the
Civil Rights Movement and the inequality between the races. Throughout high school

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she keeps her mind busy with basketball, working, and other activities to stop thinking
of all the problems in her hometown that African Americans are facing. After working
three summers in New Orleans, she learns that not all places are as segregated and
close-minded as Mississippi. Following her two years at Natchez College on a basketball
scholarship she goes on to Tougaloo on a full academic scholarship and joins the
Simeon Wright grew up in Money, Mississippi and spent his summers working
the cotton field. When he was twelve years old, his cousin Emmett Till came to visit from
Chicago. Emmett would tell stories about Chicago and his life up there, and did not
understand why his cousins let the whites treat them the way they did. Coming from
Chicago, Emmett did understand the way things were, and how he was supposed to act
around the White community. He did not know how to live in the South and how to act
around the Whites because he did not know any better. In Chicago, his life was
integrated, there was no need to act a certain way towards whites, and there was less
violence following the blacks. Simeon grew up knowing of these deaths and therefore he
knew the way to act around whites in order to stay alive. For Simeon, the biggest part of
his life was the kidnapping and murder of his cousin. However, this was not the only
violent act to take place in Mississippi through his childhood. Reverend Lee was killed
because he refused to remove his name from the voting ballot and to stop the campaign
to help others register to vote, and Lamar Smith was murdered for trying to help others
register to vote. Another example was the assassination of Medgar Evers in his driveway
for helping with the NAACP. After the tragedy of his cousin, his family moved up to city
near Chicago, and he no longer had to work the cotton fields. Life in Chicago was much
easier than in Mississippi for his family.

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Throughout their childhoods Anne and Simeon grew up with fear. This fear came
from the White community and especially those who opposed integration and spoke
their minds about civil rights. The Ku Klux Klan was a permanent part of life in
Mississippi and these white supremacists constantly instilled fear in those who wanted
to help blacks gain more freedoms, or anyone who spoke out against the current Jim
Crow Laws. There were certain rules in Mississippi that the blacks knew to follow when
it came to interacting with the whites because to step outside of these codes was to risk
your life (Wright, 13). Moody was witness to a house on her street burned to the ground
with a family still inside, the death of Samuel OQuinn, and the injustice toward the
black population as a whole. She was personally a victim of the injustices in the movie
theatre when she was a child, and tried to go into the theatre with her white friends.
During all of these violent attacks, Moody realized just how far the whites in her
community would go to protect their way of life, and ensure that the blacks knew their
place in society. Moody had a stronger resentment toward Negroes for letting the
whites kill them than towards the whites (Moody, 136) because the blacks in her town
never did anything about the violence, they just took it and never fought back, or even
tried to.
Both Moody and Wright wanted to put an end to segregation, however they went
about this differently. Moody worked with the NAACP while at Tougaloo College, and
participated in the sit in at Woolworths lunch counter in Jackson, and she later worked
for CORE. After the sit in Moody came to the realization that, The whites had a
diseaseWhat were our chances against such a disease (Moody,290). Even though the
whites had a sickness for the killings they were responsible for, she would not be able to
help anyone if she went around hating them because it was impossible for me to hate

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sickness (Moody, 290). Moody knew that the only way to accomplish things was to
fight for the rights that were deserved. It is for this reason she joins the nonviolent
organizations of CORE and NAACP, because she was able to help further the rights for
African Americans. While Simeon wanted to end segregation because of all of the wrong
that it had done he knew that, you cant beat racism through violence, but you can
through the courts(Wright, 97) and it is for this reason that even though the court
system had failed him with the verdict on his cousins kidnappers and murderers, he still
had hope for a better future.
The story of Emmett Till continues to live on because he even though Simeons
father stood up in court and pointed out the two men who kidnapped Emmett, the first
time an African American accused a white man in the court system, they were never
charged with anything. When all of this went down, it did not matter that there was
proof against the two men responsible, with an all white jury, the case would never get
the justice it deserved. Even when Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam admitted to the
kidnapping, they were never indicted, They were not about to allow a white man to be
prosecuted for killing a black person (Wright, 89). During the 1950s segregation was in
full swing, and the whites believed they were the best of the races, and therefore it did
not matter what evils they did, because they could do no wrong. With all of the media
the case received it attracted the help of Medgar Evers and other NAACP members to
use Till as an example of why they African Americans need to be fighting for their rights.
However, Simeon did not believe in the nonviolent way of getting things done at his
young age because after witnessing the kidnapping of Emmett Till, he would always
defend himself.

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Anne Moody became an activist for the civil rights movement during her college
experience, and fought for all of the hardships she had witnessed during her childhood.
She grew up in a town where the blacks were hated by the whites, but also by the mixed
races, including her mothers husband, Raymond and his family. The African Americans
in her town had no rights and had to work for the Whites for not nearly enough pay,
which caused Moody to work throughout her childhood to help feed her siblings. With
the help of the NAACP she participated in sit ins, and was under countless violent
attacks while participating in these nonviolent organizations. When she is just twenty
three and boarding a bus to Washing DC, she thinks to herself I wonder, I really
wonder (Moody, 424) because while many people are fighting for the civil rights
movement, she always thinks back to her hometown and all of the people there that are
afraid of the movement and what it stands for.
Anne Moody and Simeon Wright both grew up in rural Mississippi towns during
segregation, and constantly witnessed the violence that came from the Jim Crow Laws.
Both believed in segregation, however Moody was more of an activist and participated in
the civil rights movement, while Wright let the court system handle the cases and hoped
for a better future, letting the activist handle it. Simeon Wright, the cousin of Emmett
Till, had witnessed what really happened in 1955, and saw the results that followed.
Medgar Evers and the NAACP tried to help fight for the case and secure witnesses, but
nobody was ever convicted for the crime. In 2008, the Till Bill passed, which helped to
investigate unsolved civil rights murders before 1970. Anne Moody, participated in sitins, and fought for all of the people in her state and hometown that were murdered at
the hands of the white supremacists. Moody wonders whether blacks will ever be treated
equally, not just with the right to vote but with economic equality, and to truly overcome

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racism. Moody and Wright both worked throughout their childhood; Moody worked for
white families, cleaning their houses or helping the children with their homework, while
Wright worked on the cotton fields while living in Mississippi. Both Moody and Wright
grew up with the violent acts that were present in segregated Mississippi and knew of
the injustices that followed these acts. Whether they witnessed these cruelties personally
heard about them, they lived in a Jim Crow era where the whites were at the top of the
pyramid, and the African Americans were at the bottom. It did not matter what violent
acts were brought upon them, the results always ended with the whites doing nothing
wrong. In their own way they both helped to further the civil rights movements by
actively participating, or by spreading the truth of a personal story. Thanks to Wright
and Moody, the civil rights movement was a success years later and African Americans
no longer have to live in a fear.

Works Cited
Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York: Dell, 1976. Print.
Wright, Simeon. Simeons Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett
Till. Chicago, IL: Lawrence Hill, 2010. Print.