The subject of the autobiography. Moody’s given name is Essie Mae,
though she goes by Anne.
Toosweet Davis (Mama)
Anne’s mother. Toosweet strives to feed and clothe her children and
encourages Anne’s schoolwork early on. However, she does not encourage Anne to
go to college and begs Anne to get out of the civil rights
in-depth analysis of Toosweet Davis (Mama).
Anne’s younger sister. Adline and her mother do not support Anne’s
civil rights work, though Adline eventually supports Anne’s decision to go to
Diddly Moody (Dil)
Anne’s father. Moody deserts Toosweet for Florence. Anne goes to live
with him after she leaves Toosweet.
Anne’s younger brother and Raymond’s son.
Anne’s younger brother and Diddly’s son.
Virginia Moody (Jennie Mae)
Toosweet’s daughter by Raymond.
Toosweet’s sister. Alberta moves nearby after Virginia is
Raymond’s younger sister. Darlene is Anne’s age. Anne delights in
outperforming her in school and church activities.
Mrs. Burke’s son. Wayne grows attached to Anne, enraging his
Linda Mae and Wayne’s mother. Mrs. Burke employs Anne as a maid. Mrs.
Burke is highly unpleasant and looks down on blacks. Anne first hears about the
NAACP when she overhears Mrs. Burke discussing it with a ladies’
in-depth analysis of Mrs. Burke.
The Carter Family
Owners of the plantation where Anne lives at the start of the memoir.
The Carter family employs Anne and her family. Anne’s mother says Mr. Carter
stays up at night counting money he has made off the black plantation
Anne’s teacher at Mt. Pleasant School. Reverend Carson terrifies the
children with his loud voice and his switch; he is fairly inept as a
The Claiborne Family
The family that employs Anne. The Claiborne family encourages Anne in
her schoolwork and shares their dinner table with her. She helps them around the
Toosweet’s sister. Aunt Cindy hosts Anne during the first few weeks
after she leaves Dil.
The Cook Family
A family that is acquainted with Anne’s. The Cook family rents Anne’s
mother her first house after Anne’s father abandons her. They are kind to Anne
and her family.
Toosweet’s second husband. Raymond Davis and Anne have a tense
relationship, which prompts Anne to move out of her immediate family’s
A fellow CORE activist with Anne in Canton. Doris grows extremely
nervous in the face of constant white terrorism.
Exceptionally beautiful mulatto widow of Dil’s best friend, Hank. Dil
has an affair with her that destroys his marriage with Toosweet.
Toosweet’s younger brother. Lee is forced to look after Anne and
Adline—when he is only eight years old—while their parents are working. He hits
the girls and accidentally sets the wallpaper on fire when he tries to scare
them with matches.
Gym teacher and athletic coach. Mr. Hicks becomes infatuated with
Linda Mae Jenkins
A woman who employs Anne as a maid and babysitter.
The Johnson Family
Family who employs Toosweet as a maid. The Johnson family is kinder
to Toosweet than her other employers. She works for them after quitting
the café but before moving in with Raymond.
Grandmother of the Johnson family. Johnson takes Anne under her wing
and encourages her in all pursuits.
A basketball player at Natchez and Anne’s first
Reverend Edward King
A white southern minister and civil rights activist who befriends
Raymond’s mother. Miss Pearl treats Toosweet coldly because Toosweet
is darker skinned.
Anne’s grandfather. Grandfather Moody is regretful of his son’s
abandonment of Anne’s family, and so he gives them money from the pouch around
Anne’s teacher. Rice tells Anne about the NAACP and encourages her to
learn more about the civil rights movement.
Toosweet’s brother. Ed is Anne’s favorite uncle when she is a
Principal of Anne’s high school. Mr. Willis is considered the biggest
“Uncle Tom” in Anne’s town. Many believe he helped conspire to murder an NAACP
Anne’s eighth-grade teacher. Mrs. Willis’s extraordinary skills as a
fund-raiser help Anne become homecoming queen.
Anne’s grandmother. Winny is Toosweet’s mother. She has
thirteen children and has never married.
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!