The analysis of religion in a family of the African American experience is crystal clear in all aspects. For each African American experience, the outcome will be different. Religion is an important factor in the African American experience. It is especially important in the Coming Of Age Of Mississippi. I will be comparing these important concepts of religion with other texts and documents.
In coming of age in Mississippi, Anne Moody didn’t really understand the concept of religion as a young girl. She didn’t even understand the songs they were singing. She says “And just like at Mount Pleasant, I couldn’t understand one word of any song. All the old ladies did, though.” (Moody, pg 63). For Anne Moody being so young at this time was challenging for her in understanding such big concepts. Anne Moody was not alone in the African American Voices book the Niagara movement statement of principles is very confused by the church’s attitude toward black Americans. “…., to narrow the bounds of human brotherhood, and to segregate black men to some outer sanctuary. This is wrong, unchristian and disgraceful to the twentieth-century civilization.” (Niagara, pg,55) The Niagara movement and all of its accomplishments were between the years 1893-1910. Anne Moody was born in 1940 way after the Niagara movement but was still having trouble understanding the Bible/Christian way of things.
As Anne Moody got into her teenage years she started to understand and appreciate the church she went to and didn’t want to go anywhere else. She scored top marks in Sunday school and really excelled. Anne Moody wants to prove herself to the whites and to anybody who said she couldn’t do it “Within a few days after I received mine, I would know it by heart. And when I said it in the program, unlike most of the other participants, I didn’t forget a word or stumble” (Moody, pg 66). In AAV W.E.B Du Bois’s famous document, “We Return Fighting” states. “But by the God of Heaven, we are cowards and jackasses if now that war is over, we do not marshal every ounce of our brain and brawn to fight a sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land.” (Dubois, pg 89)Even though African Americans had it EXTREMELY HARD during the Jim Crow era they still prevailed. They still made sure that they followed what was true to their hearts and they didn’t give up their religion.
Anne Moody thought “The Bible says thou shall not kill! How can he kill a man and preach what the Bible says to people?” (Moody, pg 65). Religion was such an important thing during this era. People needed something to hope for. Black Americans needed someone to believe in. They needed to feel safe and the only way they could be to follow the one religion they knew about. Which was Christianity. The white people converted all of the African Americans to Christianity, sadly most of them didn't remember what religion they were before they converted them. We have been mainstreamed into this “white society” and we have been forced to believe something that white men made up. During the middle to late 1900’s The civil rights act of 1964 and the voting rights act of 1965 were made. Ministers and reverends took this as an act of god and further their push for African Americans to keep believing and trusting this “almighty god.”
“Mutual aid, beneficial and fraternal societies were sometimes connected with churches, and with the spread of Jim Crow, they too increased in importance as centers of black social, political, and economic life..” (Black Women and Nation Making, pg, 3) Because mostly everyone was Christian and mostly all African Americans went to church. Churches were a great way to spread the word about important events or to make people listen.
As Anne Moody got older she was shunned away from her family because of her persistence and activism in civil rights. Anne Moody was a strong believer in god until the Birmingham church bombing that killed 4 young girls. this bombing made Anne Moody lose faith and she decided that “I will be my own God, living my life as I see fit.”(Moody, pg,318)
In the years 1966-1677 ministers started to get really fired up about black civil rights. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was one of many ministers who wanted to fight for the rights of his people. One of the things that set him apart from the rest of the ministers was that he was for nonviolent demonstrations. King obviously opposed
the Vietnam War. He didn’t like it because he thought that there was hope for the poor black and white people of America and was deeply disappointed when the Vietnam war broke out and stopped the progress that was going on. He believed that god was deeply concerned for his children. “Because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned, especially for His suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.” (King Jr, pg 240)
While Anne Moody was losing faith a lot of other people got more inspired by the thought of faith. People like King and Malcolm X and etc… all rallied around religion and faith as their main points. It goes to show that even though Anne Moody and other people were raised as Christians or a certain religion. Events and activities can deeply change that. Anne Moody was an atheist. But just because she is an atheist Right now doesn’t mean something else can happen and then she changes again. People change, and People find new things to have faith in. Religion is a very important aspect in all ways And is clearly seen in history, the present, and of course the future.