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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
New Students and Family Programs

Common Read

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Minnesota State Mankato Common Read Fall 2014


book cover art for Coming of Age in Mississippi Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody

Written without a trace of sentimentality or apology, this is an unforgettable personal story -- the truth as a remarkable young woman named Anne Moody lived it. To read her book is to know what it is to have grown up black in Mississippi in the forties and fifties -- and to have survived with pride and courage intact.

In this now classic autobiography, she details the sights, smells, and suffering of growing up in a racist society and candidly reveals the soul of a black girl who had the courage to challenge it. The result is a touchstone work: an accurate, authoritative portrait of black family life in the rural South and a moving account of a woman's indomitable heart.


Building community

Our hope and intention is that any and everyone who is interested will join us in this campus and community common read.

The goal of the common read is to create community and conversation with our students, our families, and our community. All students, faculty, staff, families, and community members are welcome to join us in reading the book, participating in discussions, and attending events. We hope that some of the many Book Clubs in the area will choose the book; we hope that families will use it as a conversation piece as your son or daughter is preparing to leave home this summer; and we hope that our events and activities will lead to learning from each others' perspectives.

 On campus

All students, faculty, staff, families, alumni, and community members are welcome to read the book over the summer prior to the start of the fall 2014 semester.  The book may be used in conjunction with some courses, and there will be a variety of evening events throughout the year, including:

  • Historian M. J. O'Brien and civil rights activist Joan (Trumpauer) Mulholland—September 9-10, 2014. We are excited to welcome historian M.J. O'Brien and Ms. Moody's friend and civil rights activist Joan Mulholland to campus to speak on the history of the Jackson Civil Rights Movement and Ms. Moody's part in it.
    • Tuesday, September 9 - 7:30 pm CSU Ballroom: Join us for an evening with Mr. O'Brien and Ms. Mulholland. This event is free and open to the public.This event will also stream live online. Click here for the link to the live stream.
    • Wednesday, September 10 - 2:00 pm Ostrander Auditorium: Film showing of "An Ordinary Hero", a 90 minute documentary about Joan Mulholland's life and experiences in the Civil Rights Movement. Question and answer session with Ms. Mulhalland will follow. This event is also free and open to the public.
  • Community discussion groups—Community organizations and businesses are encouraged to read the book together, then contact Dr. Chris Corley at 507-389-5191 or to schedule your group's discussion to be moderated by MSU students during September or October. You provide the people and the place and we'll provide the moderators! Please plan to schedule your session at least 2 weeks in advance.
    • The following book discussions are scheduled for 2014:  
      • Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 3:00 PM: Cheri Rohlfing's FYEX Course
      • Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 6:30 PM: Skyline Book Club
      • Thursday, Sept. 18 at 2 PM: Patricia Hoffman's FYEX Course
      • Friday, Sept. 26 at Noon: Summit Center
      • Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 2 PM: Lynnette Engeswick's FYEX Course
      • Sunday, Oct. 26 at 9 AM: St. John's Episcopal Church, Mankato
  • Constitution Day - September 17, 8 AM - 11 PM, Centennial Student Union Rooms 253-4-5 or Online. More than 10 facilitated discussions, accompanied by award winning documentaries, will be led by students and faculty from 8 AM to 11 PM in CSU 253-4-5, every hour, on the hour, except where otherwise indicated. Noted session moderators and discussants include to-date: Dr. Angela (Jill) Cooley, Dr. Joseph Kunkel, and Dr. Pat Nelson. Dr. Susan Burum will be presenting a paper, in review, on A Gordian Knot: The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, while Dr. Fred Slocum will be facilitating a discussion on "Contemporary Court Decisions: Gay and Lesbian Issues." For more information, go to: the MSU Constitution Day website.
  • "Created Equal" Movie Series -- Memorial Library will be showing the following films as part of the Bridging Cultures initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities developed in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. This educational initiative focuses on promoting public dialogue that explores the relationship between American law and American society within the context of the struggle for civil rights in America.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird-- The MSU Theatre Department will offer productions of Harper Lee's famous novel on the followng dates: Oct. 16-19 & 22-26, 2014. We encourage students to attend a performance.
    • The following events have been coordinated for students enrolled in either a Learning Community or the Honors Program:
      • Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 3 PM in the Andreas Theater: Special Preview of To Kill A Mockingbird with Director Dr. Heather Hamilton.
      • Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 3 PM in the Andreas Theater: Post-show discussion and debriefing with Dr. Hamilton and several actors

Keep checking back as we add additional events and details. Please keep in mind that these events are designed to be enlightening for even those who haven't yet read the book.


Join us on Facebook!

Engage in online discussions, get event updates, and be the first to know the book for next year!

 Get email updates!

Contact Ginny Walters with your name and email address to receive occasional email updates.

Coming of Age in Mississippi resources

Where to find the book

Coming of Age in Mississippi is widely available in hardcover, paperback, mass market paperback, e-Book, and in audio format at many online and local booksellers. The book is also available in the Barnes and Noble bookstore on campus. The Memorial Library at Minnesota State University, Mankato has multiple copies of both print and audio versions available for checkout. Check with your local library as well! 

Good reads from previous years

  • 2013  Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
  • 2012  The Unforgiving Minute by Craig Mullaney
  • 2011 This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, edited by Dan Gediman and Jay Allison
  • 2010 Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson


Get involved

If you have an idea for a future common read book, want to help plan an event, or have other ideas, contact the Honors Program at 507-389-5191.


 Program funding sponsors and partners

  • Academic Affairs
  • Student Affairs
  • Honors
  • New Student and Family Programs
  • Institutional Diversity
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Memorial Library
  • Good Thunder Reading Series
  • Printing Services
  • Alumni Relations
  • Department of Theatre & Dance
  • Department of History


Minnesota State Mankato Common Read