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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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'Coming of Age in Mississippi' is 2014-15 Common Read Book

Book is 1968 memoir about an African-American woman in Mississippi in the 1940s and 1950s.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 5-19-2014

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato is in its fifth year of a common read program, and Anne Moody’s “Coming of Age in Mississippi,” a 1968 memoir about growing up as an African-American woman in Mississippi in the 1940s and 1950s, has been chosen as the common read for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Minnesota State Mankato New Student and Family Programs office invites the area community to join University students in reading “Coming of Age in Mississippi” before the start of 2014-15 classes in August. The book is available in a variety of formats (hardcover, paperback, e-Book and audio) at various locations, including the Minnesota State Mankato Memorial Library as well as local public libraries and bookstores.

Several events are being planned for the fall, and all are free and open to the public. Currently planned events include:

  • Historian M.J. O’Brien and civil rights activist Joan (Trumpauer) Mulholland public presentation — Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom on campus. This event will also stream live online; details will be posted online at the common read website as the event approaches.
  • Film showing of “An Ordinary Hero” (a 90-minute documentary) – Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 at 2 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium on campus. After the documentary, which is about Joan Mulholland’s life and experiences in the civil rights movement, there will be a question and answer session with Mulholland about her experiences.
  • Community discussion groups — will be planned for September and October. Area businesses and community organizations are encouraged to read the book together, and then contact Minnesota State Mankato faculty member Chris Corley at 507-389-5191 or if you would like to schedule a discussion to be moderated by a Minnesota State Mankato student.

The following is a Google eBook description from here:

“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.”

The goal of the common read is to create community and conversation with students, families, and the community. All students, faculty, staff, families, and community members are welcome to join in reading the book, participating in discussions, and attending events.

Area book clubs are invited and encouraged to choose the book, and a discussion guide is available online. The book could also be a conversation piece for families, whose sons and daughters may be preparing to leave home this summer. It is the hope of the common read program that the events and activities surrounding it will lead to learning from the perspectives of all who participate.

More information about the common read is available here or or by contacting Chris Corley, Honors Program director, by phone at 507-389-5191 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,409 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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