5. I WONDER. I really WONDER.

These are the final words in Coming of Age in Mississippi. The statement refers to Anne’s attitude while singing the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” on a bus to Washington to attend a hearing on the situation in Mississippi. She is wondering whether blacks really will overcome all of their problems. This statement reflects her severe frustration with the movement in Mississippi. After doing exhaustive work on voter registration in the small town of Canton in rural Mississippi, the situation for blacks there is arguably worse. In fact, the local man who had done the most to get the movement started in the community was now impoverished and in jail. Ultimately, Anne wishes the movement would focus on concrete economic improvements in the lives of the rural blacks, rather than on voting rights and on symbolic actions such as the Freedom Vote, a mock vote to protest the real vote in Mississippi. She works to distribute clothing to the poor of Canton, and tries to establish a program to help blacks borrow money to buy their own farms. She believes that economic security will give blacks the power and inclination to demand all their other rights. Yet Anne is not just disappointed with the movement. She is disgusted that so many whites in Mississippi are holding on so hard and so violently to racial inequality. She also is saddened by the willingness of so many blacks to compensate for the injustices rather than stick their necks out to seek change.