Anne Moody

Anne Moody


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Anne Moody, the oldest of nine children, was born in Wilkinson County, Mississippi on 15th September, 1940. She attended segregated schools before winning a basketball scholarship to Natchez Junior College in 1961.

While at college Moody joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Congress of Racial Equality. Moody took part in the Freedom Summer campaign and continued to be active in the civil rights struggle while at Tougaloo College where she obtained a bachelor of science degree.

Deeply shocked by the lynching of Emmett Till Moody decided to dedicate herself to the civil rights movement. She took part in the campaign against Segregated Lunch Counters and participated in the March on Washington.

Moody's acclaimed autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi, was published in 1968. This was followed by a collection of short stories, Mr. Death (1975). Moody now lives in New York where works as a Counselor for the New York City Poverty Program.

I was now working for one of the meanest white women in town, and a week before school started Emmett Till was killed.

Up until his death, I had heard of Negroes found floating in a river or dead somewhere with their bodies riddled with bullets. But I didn't know the mystery behind these killings then.

When they had finished dinner and gone into the living room as usual to watch TV, Mrs. Burke called me to eat. I took a clean plate out of the cabinet and sat down. Just as I was putting the first forkful of food in my mouth, Mrs. Burke entered the kitchen.

"Essie, did you hear about that fourteen-year-old boy who was killed in Greenwood?" she asked me, sitting down in one of the chairs opposite me.

"No, I didn't hear that," I answered, almost choking on the food.

"Do you know why he was killed?" she asked and I didn't answer.

"He was killed because he got out of his place with a white woman. A boy from Mississippi would have known better than that. This boy was from Chicago. Negroes up North have no respect for people. They think they can get away with anything. He just came to Mississippi and put a whole lot of notions in the boys' heads here and stirred up a lot of trouble," she said passionately.

"How old are you, Essie?" she asked me after a pause.

"Fourteen, I will soon be fifteen though," I said.

"See, that boy was just fourteen too. It's a shame he had to die so soon." She was red in the face, she looked as if she was on fire.

When she left the kitchen I sat there with my mouth open and my food untouched. I couldn't have eaten now if I were starving. "Just do your work like you don't know nothing" ran through my mind again and I began washing the dishes.

I went home shaking like a leaf on a tree. For the first time out of all her trying, Mrs. Burke had made me feel like rotten garbage. Many times she had tried to instill fear within me and subdue me and had given up. But when she talked about Emmett Till there was something in her voice that sent chills and fear all over me.

Before Emmett Till's murder, I had known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was a new fear known to me - the fear of being killed just because I was black. This was the worst of my fears. I knew once I got food, the fear of starving to death would leave. I also was told that if I were a good girl, I wouldn't have to fear the Devil or hell. But I didn't know what one had to do or not do as a Negro not to be killed. Probably just being a Negro period was enough, I thought.

I was fifteen years old when I began to hate people. I hated the white men who murdered Emmett Till and I hated all the other whites who were responsible for the countless murders Mrs. Rice (my teacher) had told me about and those I vaguely remembered from childhood. But I also hated Negroes. I hated them for not standing up and doing something about the murders. In fact, I think I had a stronger resentment toward Negroes for letting the whites kill them than toward the whites.

In the beginning I never really saw myself as a writer. I was first and foremost an activist in the civil rights movement in Mississippi. When I could no longer see that anything was being accomplished by our work there, I left and went North. I came back to see through my writing that no matter how hard we in the movement worked, nothing seemed to change; that we made a few visible little gains; yet at the root, things always remained the same; and that the movement was not in control of its destiny, nor did we have any means of gaining control of it. We were like an angry dog on a leash that had turned on its master. It could bark and howl and snap, and sometimes even bite, but the master was always in control. I realized that the universal fight for human rights, dignity, justice, equality, and freedom is not and should not be just the fight of the American Negro or the Indians or the Chicanos. It's the fight of every ethnic and racial minority, every suppressed and exploited person, everyone of the millions who daily suffer one or another of the indignities of the powerless and voiceless masses. And this trend of thinking is what finally brought about my involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, especially as it began to a splinter and get more narrowly nationalistic in its thinking.


The Growth of Anne Moody

Anne Moody’s autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi , follows Anne throughout the stages in her life from childhood, to high school, then to college, and ends with her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the novel, the reader has the pleasure of seeing Anne tell us her story through events, conversations, and internal, emotional struggles. In comparison to others that fought for the Civil Rights Movement, Anne stands out with her back-story. How she came to see race and the struggles dealt with by those in her community makes her a stand-out piece in the puzzle. Her background of where she grew up and her independent ways of thinking make her one of the best Civil Rights Movement participants to write an autobiography. How she came to be who she was throughout the novel was shaped in many different ways. Her family, community, interactions with the different races, her experiences outside of her hometown, and, especially, her education, helped to shape her into the activist that she was throughout Coming of Age in Mississippi . But, after her 6 years of participation and her choice to leave the movement, the movement still continued on.

Throughout her development and socialization, Anne’s family, more specifically her mother, Mama, were somewhat of a hindrance to her outlook on the relationship between the races. Her Mama tried very hard to keep her sheltered from any sort of racial friction by telling her not to act a certain way when around whites. Her Mama kept in her in the dark with issues. When Anne asked her Mama what the NAACP was, her Mama told her not to be asking those kinds of questions. Her Mama feared for the safety of Anne in their rural south of Mississippi. Even when Anne was in college and was participating in small Civil Rights Movement demonstrations, her Mama continued to plead to her to stop what she was doing before she was killed. Anne’s Mama was one that continued to keep her in the dark when it came to race relations. When Anne was younger, she had white friends that lived on the same street as she and her family. Once when Anne and her family were going to the theater, she saw those white friends and decided to join them. When Anne attempted to enter the theater through the white entrance, her Mama stopped her frantically and scolded her for trying to go through the white entrance. Without a credible explanation from her Mama as to why she became so flustered with Anne’s attempt to enter the theater with her white friends. Anne’s childhood was littered with such these instances. She learned about the relations between whites and blacks in similar fashion as Richard Wright divulged in The Ethics of Living Jim Crow. Her knowledge came from different interactions with community members and different observations throughout her childhood and young adult development.

However, Anne’s family was not entirely comprised of those who did not support her. Her Grandmother was one of her advocates throughout her growth into a young adult. Her father and her stepmother were highly supportive during her last few years in high school and first couple of years in college. This support was one that her mother never seemed to show. They gave her support in the decisions she made and what she wanted to do with her life. It seemed that those people were the outlet that she needed when she had reached her breaking-point with Mama and her stepfather, Raymond. Her Grandmother, her father, and her stepmother, along with some of her aunts and uncles, were there to take her in and allow her to grow how she wanted to.

It was quite apparent that Anne’s Mama not only hindered her throughout her childhood, but also made her want to fight more and more throughout her time in the movement. Multiple times, Anne references her mother’s unwillingness to fight and how that unwillingness fueled her desire to fight even more. The letters that Anne received from her mother throughout her time in college and the movement fueled the fire because her mother, someone who had accepted the racial hierarchy and did not want to fight for her rights, was telling her to stop fighting for what she believed in. However, Anne was able to turn to the community outside of her hometown in Mississippi to find her passion for the movement and her different outlooks on her race as a whole.

Anne Moody participating in a Civil Rights Movement demonstration

Moody’s interaction even with the whites within her hometown shaped her thoughts on race – or at least started her questioning of why there was such an emphasis on race. Throughout a majority of her young adult life, Anne worked for whites. She would cook, clean, iron, and maintain houses for whites in her community. One of those white families that she worked for was the Burkes. Anne had a majority of her interaction with Mrs. Burke, an active member in a local Citizens’ Council and a character that looks down on the black race. Anne’s interactions with Mrs. Burke make her question the societal norms between whites and blacks. Mrs. Burke tells Anne how to behave and all Anne can do is act as if she understands and agrees with what Mrs. Burke says, but inside, all she can do is question why society is like this. One interaction goes as follows: “When they [the Burkes] had finished and gone to the living room as usual to watch TV, Mrs. Burke called me to eat…Mrs. Burke entered the kitchen. “Essie, did you hear about the fourteen-year-old boy who was killed in Greenwood?…He was killed because he go out of his place with a white woman. A boy from Mississippi would have known better than that. This boy was from Chicago. Negroes up North have no respect for people…” she said passionately,” (Pgs. 131-132).

Anne’s interactions with the black community in more urban areas and while she attended college, showed her a new view on her race. Her summers in New Orleans showed her that there was a community larger than just the family. There was a black community that stuck together and was willing to fight for rights. The willingness to fight by the black community became much more apparent to Anne when she began attending college. College became Anne’s outlet to voice her opinion that she had been bottling up since childhood. College gave Anne those outlets to finally bring her opinions and desire to fight, to the forefront.

It seemed as though Anne’s desire to fight against what she believed was unjust became more known to those around her when she began attending college. For example, Anne, when attending Natchez College, made it known to the Dean that she did not appreciate how the women’s basketball team’s coach, Miss Adams, made ridiculous rules for the girls: “”My story is this,” I said and went on to tell him what had happened. I made it clear to him that I thought Miss Adams’ rules for the basketball girls were unfair,” (Pg 243). It seemed that college was when Anne found her outlet to be the person who feels obligated to speak up when there is injustice. College became Anne’s outlet.

Anne, however, was not necessarily the stereotypical activist. Unlike many of those she served next to, Anne was not one to emphasize and preach religion as a large part of the movement. Throughout her time in the movement after college, Anne began to question those who utilized religion as weapon for equality. Her belief in God is tested multiple times throughout her time in the movement. After hearing about a bombing on a black church in Birmingham in which four Sunday school children were killed, Moody firmly questions her relationship between herself and religion and the relationship between religion and the Civil Rights Movement. Moody writes: “Pray! Pray, George! Why the hell should we be praying all the time? Those white men who hurled that bomb into the church today weren’t on their knees, were they? If those girls weren’t at Sunday school today, maybe they would be alive. How do you know they weren’t on their knees? That’s what’s wrong now. We’ve been praying too long. Yes, as a race all we’ve got it religion. And the white man’s got everything else, including all the dynamite,” (Pg 350).

Moody’s questioning about the place of religion within the movement takes her to ultimately question the decisions made by Martin Luther King Jr.: “If Martin Luther King things nonviolence is really going to work for the South as it did for India, then he is out of his mind,” (Pg 351). Anne does not hold back in regards to butting heads with the deemed leader of the Civil Rights Movement. She, along with a minority of those involved in the Civil Rights Movement, questions the objectives and goals of their leaders. However, even though Anne voiced her opinion about the effectiveness of praying in order to fight for the rights of blacks, she was still taken aback when her fellow co-workers at the Freedom House, decided to carry guns for protection. She questioned that decision, but after a quick thought, she asked for a gun for herself. This showed that she was hesitant to resort to violence, but then realized that it was quite necessary for her protection. Moody writes: “I stood there looking at them, thinking “These fools are out of their minds. What in the hell would we do with two guns against all the dynamite and ammunition the Klan has?[…]If you can’t beat them, join them. Matching fire with fire instead of kneeling and praying while some white cracker shoots you to death[…]I figured if some Negro was kind enough to bring a gun to the Freedom House for us to protect ourselves with, then they must be gathering ammunition to protect the community,” (Pg 361). In comparison to the leaders that are portrayed such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, Anne had a different idea as to how she wanted to fight for her rights. The religious, nonviolent approach was not her first choice. Those with the same mindset as Anne Moody were very much a part of the Civil Rights Movement, but are not the ones that are talked about in history classes. This could be because they were a minority or it could be because it’s more theatrical to portray the entire race as a unified community with the same goals and ideas to achieve those goals.

After about six years as a member of the Civil Rights Movement, Anne was unable to continue. The violence and strife had taken its toll on her – making the choice of discontinuing her participation in the movement more appealing. Nonetheless, the Civil Rights Movement still continued on. There were others to take Anne’s place just as there were others to take the place of Martin Luther King Jr. once he was expendable. This movement was too large to halt completely after the death of some its core members. The push-back from the whites fueled the movement. Without equality, the movement was unwilling to stop. With constant injustice, there was always a reason for the movement to continue. It can be argued, as especially seen in Harvey’s novel, that this Civil Rights Movement was ended in the law books and in the public realm, but was still apparent in the private and religious realm. As Harvey mentions in Freedom’s Coming, the act of segregation continued into the religious sphere. Some believed that the miscegenation of the two races was what God did not want. This ideology was very strong in the South and focused on the idea that God had made these different races for a reason – each race should remain pure.

Anne was a small piece in a rather large puzzle of the Civil Rights Movement. She fought for what she believed in, but, compared to those around her, in a somewhat unconventional way. Her desire to fight was always there and it was the combination of how her family was unwilling to fight and her belief in her ability to be equal to her white peers that fueled her growth into the activist that she became. College was her outlet. There, she was able to find others that believed in the same ideas as herself. She no longer was trapped in a community that was set in its ways and afraid to go against the social norm. Anne learned about how blacks should act around whites throughout her childhood. Her family, friends, peers, and employers were her racial educators. However, throughout her socialization, she could not help but question the reasons as to why it had to be segregated and hierarchical. Even within her own black community, there was a schism between the lighter-skinned blacks and the darker-skinned blacks. This community – a community that was meant to come together and fight for the common goal of equality – was characterized with fractures within itself. Anne’s growth, action, and ultimate resignation was a small piece in the puzzle but a puzzle is not complete unless it has all of its pieces. Each piece is just as important as the next.


Civil Rights pioneer Anne Moody is now featured on the Mississippi Writers Trail (MWT) in Centreville. Her story is shared on an official marker on West Park Street North in The Louis Gaulden and Riquita Jackson Family Memorial Park, across from the Kevin Poole Van Cleave Library.

Moody, who wrote Coming of Age in Mississippi, and Mr. Death: Four Stories, was born and raised in Centreville. Both sides of the marker feature a biographical sketch of her life as a civil rights activist and her work as a writer.

The unveiling ceremony was organized by Maggie Lowery, cultural programs manager for Visit Mississippi, and Felicia Williams, who serves as alderwoman of Ward 1 in Centreville.

“It is my honor to be part of the program this morning,” said Dr. Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. “The Mississippi Writers Trail celebrates our state’s extraordinary literary heritage. We take tremendous pride in how great writers like Anne Moody took their experiences living in this sometimes difficult and complicated place to create profound art that has moved readers all across the world.”

Rockoff said Moody’s book affected him, a white man from Texas, on a personal level, after he read it in graduate school.

“The book has been widely assigned in universities because of its eloquent and bracing truth about the experience of growing up in a society profoundly shaped, or misshaped, by white supremacy,” he said, noting Moody grew up in a society that was “predicated on the idea that white lives matter more.”

According to Rockoff, the genius of Moody as a writer is how she was able to draw readers into her own experience. “We see the world of Jim Crow Mississippi through her eyes,” he said. “And once we experience this, we are forever changed.”

Rockoff was one of several people who spoke during the ceremony. John Moore, who serves as Centreville Mayor Pro Tempore and Alderman of Ward 3, provided the Invocation Dr. Roscoe Barnes III, chairman of the Anne Moody History Project, and Cultural Heritage Tourism manager for Visit Natchez, provided the Welcome. Barnes previously served as chaplain at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility, the birthplace of the Anne Moody History Project.

Alderwoman Williams shared remarks and facilitated the unveiling. Reading from the marker’s biographical sketch, Williams described Moody as a heroine of the civil rights movement. In Coming of Age, she said, Moody “lucidly and eloquently articulates what it was like to grow up in poverty, to suffer racial discrimination, and to fight for social change as a civil rights activist.”

Moody died in 2015 at the age of 74. At the time of her death, she was living in Gloster, Miss. She will now join other famous writers like Eudora Welty, Margaret Walker, Elizabeth Spencer, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, and Ida B. Wells.

News of the marker was first shared by Williams in December 2019. She had been working with Lowery to secure a place for its location. According to Lowery, funding for the project was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

The unveiling ceremony was initially set for March 31. However, it was postponed due to COVID-19.

Lowery attended the recent ceremony along with Kristen Brandt, arts industry director for Mississippi Arts Commission, and Marion Barnwell, a Mississippi historian. A few local citizens that included children also turned out for the event.

The Mississippi Writers Trail is an initiative of the Mississippi Arts Commission, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Mississippi, Mississippi Book Festival, Mississippi Humanities Council, Visit Mississippi, Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Mississippi Library Commission.


Notes

Journalist Mike O’Brien wrote a comprehensive description of the photograph, using archival and oral history research to detail the life stories and trajectories of most of the people identified. M. J. O’Brien, We Shall Not Be Moved: The Jackson Woolworth’s Sit-In and the Movement It Inspired (Jackson, Miss., 2013).

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (New York, 1968), 254, 263 Anne Moody interviewed by Debra Spencer, February 19, 1985, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Miss., Oral History Collection, OHP 403, transcript, 7.


The Growth of Anne Moody

Anne Moody’s autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi , follows Anne throughout the stages in her life from childhood, to high school, then to college, and ends with her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the novel, the reader has the pleasure of seeing Anne tell us her story through events, conversations, and internal, emotional struggles. In comparison to others that fought for the Civil Rights Movement, Anne stands out with her back-story. How she came to see race and the struggles dealt with by those in her community makes her a stand-out piece in the puzzle. Her background of where she grew up and her independent ways of thinking make her one of the best Civil Rights Movement participants to write an autobiography. How she came to be who she was throughout the novel was shaped in many different ways. Her family, community, interactions with the different races, her experiences outside of her hometown, and, especially, her education, helped to shape her into the activist that she was throughout Coming of Age in Mississippi . But, after her 6 years of participation and her choice to leave the movement, the movement still continued on.

Throughout her development and socialization, Anne’s family, more specifically her mother, Mama, were somewhat of a hindrance to her outlook on the relationship between the races. Her Mama tried very hard to keep her sheltered from any sort of racial friction by telling her not to act a certain way when around whites. Her Mama kept in her in the dark with issues. When Anne asked her Mama what the NAACP was, her Mama told her not to be asking those kinds of questions. Her Mama feared for the safety of Anne in their rural south of Mississippi. Even when Anne was in college and was participating in small Civil Rights Movement demonstrations, her Mama continued to plead to her to stop what she was doing before she was killed. Anne’s Mama was one that continued to keep her in the dark when it came to race relations. When Anne was younger, she had white friends that lived on the same street as she and her family. Once when Anne and her family were going to the theater, she saw those white friends and decided to join them. When Anne attempted to enter the theater through the white entrance, her Mama stopped her frantically and scolded her for trying to go through the white entrance. Without a credible explanation from her Mama as to why she became so flustered with Anne’s attempt to enter the theater with her white friends. Anne’s childhood was littered with such these instances. She learned about the relations between whites and blacks in similar fashion as Richard Wright divulged in The Ethics of Living Jim Crow. Her knowledge came from different interactions with community members and different observations throughout her childhood and young adult development.

However, Anne’s family was not entirely comprised of those who did not support her. Her Grandmother was one of her advocates throughout her growth into a young adult. Her father and her stepmother were highly supportive during her last few years in high school and first couple of years in college. This support was one that her mother never seemed to show. They gave her support in the decisions she made and what she wanted to do with her life. It seemed that those people were the outlet that she needed when she had reached her breaking-point with Mama and her stepfather, Raymond. Her Grandmother, her father, and her stepmother, along with some of her aunts and uncles, were there to take her in and allow her to grow how she wanted to.

It was quite apparent that Anne’s Mama not only hindered her throughout her childhood, but also made her want to fight more and more throughout her time in the movement. Multiple times, Anne references her mother’s unwillingness to fight and how that unwillingness fueled her desire to fight even more. The letters that Anne received from her mother throughout her time in college and the movement fueled the fire because her mother, someone who had accepted the racial hierarchy and did not want to fight for her rights, was telling her to stop fighting for what she believed in. However, Anne was able to turn to the community outside of her hometown in Mississippi to find her passion for the movement and her different outlooks on her race as a whole.

Anne Moody participating in a Civil Rights Movement demonstration

Moody’s interaction even with the whites within her hometown shaped her thoughts on race – or at least started her questioning of why there was such an emphasis on race. Throughout a majority of her young adult life, Anne worked for whites. She would cook, clean, iron, and maintain houses for whites in her community. One of those white families that she worked for was the Burkes. Anne had a majority of her interaction with Mrs. Burke, an active member in a local Citizens’ Council and a character that looks down on the black race. Anne’s interactions with Mrs. Burke make her question the societal norms between whites and blacks. Mrs. Burke tells Anne how to behave and all Anne can do is act as if she understands and agrees with what Mrs. Burke says, but inside, all she can do is question why society is like this. One interaction goes as follows: “When they [the Burkes] had finished and gone to the living room as usual to watch TV, Mrs. Burke called me to eat…Mrs. Burke entered the kitchen. “Essie, did you hear about the fourteen-year-old boy who was killed in Greenwood?…He was killed because he go out of his place with a white woman. A boy from Mississippi would have known better than that. This boy was from Chicago. Negroes up North have no respect for people…” she said passionately,” (Pgs. 131-132).

Anne’s interactions with the black community in more urban areas and while she attended college, showed her a new view on her race. Her summers in New Orleans showed her that there was a community larger than just the family. There was a black community that stuck together and was willing to fight for rights. The willingness to fight by the black community became much more apparent to Anne when she began attending college. College became Anne’s outlet to voice her opinion that she had been bottling up since childhood. College gave Anne those outlets to finally bring her opinions and desire to fight, to the forefront.

It seemed as though Anne’s desire to fight against what she believed was unjust became more known to those around her when she began attending college. For example, Anne, when attending Natchez College, made it known to the Dean that she did not appreciate how the women’s basketball team’s coach, Miss Adams, made ridiculous rules for the girls: “”My story is this,” I said and went on to tell him what had happened. I made it clear to him that I thought Miss Adams’ rules for the basketball girls were unfair,” (Pg 243). It seemed that college was when Anne found her outlet to be the person who feels obligated to speak up when there is injustice. College became Anne’s outlet.

Anne, however, was not necessarily the stereotypical activist. Unlike many of those she served next to, Anne was not one to emphasize and preach religion as a large part of the movement. Throughout her time in the movement after college, Anne began to question those who utilized religion as weapon for equality. Her belief in God is tested multiple times throughout her time in the movement. After hearing about a bombing on a black church in Birmingham in which four Sunday school children were killed, Moody firmly questions her relationship between herself and religion and the relationship between religion and the Civil Rights Movement. Moody writes: “Pray! Pray, George! Why the hell should we be praying all the time? Those white men who hurled that bomb into the church today weren’t on their knees, were they? If those girls weren’t at Sunday school today, maybe they would be alive. How do you know they weren’t on their knees? That’s what’s wrong now. We’ve been praying too long. Yes, as a race all we’ve got it religion. And the white man’s got everything else, including all the dynamite,” (Pg 350).

Moody’s questioning about the place of religion within the movement takes her to ultimately question the decisions made by Martin Luther King Jr.: “If Martin Luther King things nonviolence is really going to work for the South as it did for India, then he is out of his mind,” (Pg 351). Anne does not hold back in regards to butting heads with the deemed leader of the Civil Rights Movement. She, along with a minority of those involved in the Civil Rights Movement, questions the objectives and goals of their leaders. However, even though Anne voiced her opinion about the effectiveness of praying in order to fight for the rights of blacks, she was still taken aback when her fellow co-workers at the Freedom House, decided to carry guns for protection. She questioned that decision, but after a quick thought, she asked for a gun for herself. This showed that she was hesitant to resort to violence, but then realized that it was quite necessary for her protection. Moody writes: “I stood there looking at them, thinking “These fools are out of their minds. What in the hell would we do with two guns against all the dynamite and ammunition the Klan has?[…]If you can’t beat them, join them. Matching fire with fire instead of kneeling and praying while some white cracker shoots you to death[…]I figured if some Negro was kind enough to bring a gun to the Freedom House for us to protect ourselves with, then they must be gathering ammunition to protect the community,” (Pg 361). In comparison to the leaders that are portrayed such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, Anne had a different idea as to how she wanted to fight for her rights. The religious, nonviolent approach was not her first choice. Those with the same mindset as Anne Moody were very much a part of the Civil Rights Movement, but are not the ones that are talked about in history classes. This could be because they were a minority or it could be because it’s more theatrical to portray the entire race as a unified community with the same goals and ideas to achieve those goals.

After about six years as a member of the Civil Rights Movement, Anne was unable to continue. The violence and strife had taken its toll on her – making the choice of discontinuing her participation in the movement more appealing. Nonetheless, the Civil Rights Movement still continued on. There were others to take Anne’s place just as there were others to take the place of Martin Luther King Jr. once he was expendable. This movement was too large to halt completely after the death of some its core members. The push-back from the whites fueled the movement. Without equality, the movement was unwilling to stop. With constant injustice, there was always a reason for the movement to continue. It can be argued, as especially seen in Harvey’s novel, that this Civil Rights Movement was ended in the law books and in the public realm, but was still apparent in the private and religious realm. As Harvey mentions in Freedom’s Coming, the act of segregation continued into the religious sphere. Some believed that the miscegenation of the two races was what God did not want. This ideology was very strong in the South and focused on the idea that God had made these different races for a reason – each race should remain pure.

Anne was a small piece in a rather large puzzle of the Civil Rights Movement. She fought for what she believed in, but, compared to those around her, in a somewhat unconventional way. Her desire to fight was always there and it was the combination of how her family was unwilling to fight and her belief in her ability to be equal to her white peers that fueled her growth into the activist that she became. College was her outlet. There, she was able to find others that believed in the same ideas as herself. She no longer was trapped in a community that was set in its ways and afraid to go against the social norm. Anne learned about how blacks should act around whites throughout her childhood. Her family, friends, peers, and employers were her racial educators. However, throughout her socialization, she could not help but question the reasons as to why it had to be segregated and hierarchical. Even within her own black community, there was a schism between the lighter-skinned blacks and the darker-skinned blacks. This community – a community that was meant to come together and fight for the common goal of equality – was characterized with fractures within itself. Anne’s growth, action, and ultimate resignation was a small piece in the puzzle but a puzzle is not complete unless it has all of its pieces. Each piece is just as important as the next.


Mississippi hometown honors author of civil rights memoir

A civil rights activist who wrote about challenging segregation in the South was honored in her hometown, two years after her death.

About 70 people gathered Friday in the southwestern Mississippi town of Centreville &mdash population 1,680 &mdash to unveil a sign for the newly renamed Anne Moody Street. Moody was born in Centreville on Sept. 15, 1940.

Her memoir, "Coming of Age in Mississippi," was published in 1968 and is required reading in some schools. It recounts her early life in a poor family and her participation in civil rights activities that put her in danger, including efforts to register black voters.

Roscoe Barnes III, who is chaplain at a prison near Centreville, helped organize the Anne Moody Day commemoration, held on what would have been her 77th birthday. He said her son, Sasha Straus, attended, as did some of her siblings and cousins.

"Here's a woman who literally put her life on the line in the fight for freedom and justice," Barnes told The Associated Press. "We're here because she was there. She survived threats, beatings, incarcerations."

On May 28, 1963, Moody was part of an integrated group of students from historically black Tougaloo College who staged a peaceful sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi. They had worked with Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers to prepare for the protest.

White high school students, egged on by some adults, dumped ketchup and mustard on the heads of Moody and the other protesters. She wrote that after she and two other black students started praying at the counter, one white man slapped her and another threw her against an adjoining counter. One of the praying students was pulled violently from his seat.

Evers was assassinated outside his Jackson home two weeks after the sit-in.

After Moody graduated from college in 1964, she moved to New York, where she wrote her book. She returned to Mississippi in the mid-1990s but never felt at ease in the state, said one of her sisters, Adline Moody.

Anne Moody had dementia before she died at home in Gloster, Mississippi, in 2015. She was 74.

Barnes does volunteer work for the Anne Moody History Project, which is based at the privately run prison where he works, Wilkinson County Correctional Facility. He said some inmates and have been reading and discussing "Coming of Age in Mississippi" as part of a book group. He said he also gives away copies of the book to people who live in southwestern Mississippi.

"I spoke to a woman in her 40s who grew up in this area," Barnes said. "She said, 'Who is Anne Moody?' That broke my heart."


Anne Moody, sat stoically at violent Woolworth’s sit-in, dies at 74

Anne Moody, whose memoir “Coming of Age in Mississippi” gave a wrenching account of growing up poor in the segregated South and facing violence as a civil rights activist, has died. She was 74.

Moody died Thursday at her home in the small town Gloster, Miss. She had dementia the last several years and stopped eating two days before she died in her sleep, according to her sister, Adline Moody.

On May 28, 1963, Anne Moody was among the students from historically black Tougaloo College who staged a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in downtown Jackson, Miss. A white mob attacked the integrated group of peaceful students, dousing them with ketchup, mustard and sugar and beating one of the men.

A photograph from the sit-in shows Moody sitting stoically at the five-and-dime counter with food on her head. Moody’s eyes are downcast as a man pours more food on one of her fellow students, Joan Trumpauer.

Moody wrote in her 1968 memoir that “all hell broke loose” after she and two other black students, Memphis Norman and Pearlena Lewis, prayed at the lunch counter.

“A man rushed forward, threw Memphis from his seat, and slapped my face,” Moody wrote. “Then another man who worked in the store threw me against an adjoining counter.”

The Jackson sit-in occurred more than three years after a more famous one in Greensboro, N.C. The one in Jackson happened just after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that legalized sit-ins. But, Jackson police provided little protection to the protesters as about 300 whites screamed at and jostled them.

The Rev. Ed King, a white Methodist minister who was the Tougaloo chaplain in 1963, went to Woolworth’s as an observer. During a 2009 AP interview, King recalled he reported to Medgar Evers, the Mississippi NAACP leader, what was happening.

“I had to call him and tell him that of the first sit-inners, a mob has formed, Memphis Norman was unconscious on the floor, he had been kicked … had blood in his nose, I think even ears. And he did have a concussion from it,” King said. “And the first two women had been dragged by the hair.”

The sit-in lasted several hours before the store closed. The mob was dispersed and the Tougaloo contingent returned to campus in north Jackson. The protest was part of a months-long boycott that the NAACP led against white-owned businesses in downtown Jackson, seeking the hiring of black police officers and bank clerks, the elimination of segregated water fountains and lunch counters the use of courtesy titles for black adults, who routinely were called by their first names rather than “Mr.” or “Mrs.” the hiring of black clerks at Capitol Street stores and the change to a first-come, first-served approach for waiting on customers at downtown stores rather than making black customers wait until whites had been helped.

Two weeks after the sit-in, Evers was assassinated outside his family’s Jackson home.

Anne Moody was born Sept. 15, 1940, near Centreville, Miss. After graduating from college in 1964 she left Mississippi and for a time lived in New York, where she wrote her memoir.

Even after Anne Moody returned to Mississippi in the mid-1990s, she never felt at ease in her home state, her sister said.

Adline Moody said that she admired the courage of her sister, who was two years her senior.

“We came from a very poor family, and when she joined the movement, she did it because it was something that needed to be done. She wasn’t out there just to be there,” Adline Moody said. “I’m very proud of her for what she did. She made it better for me.”

According to the Associated Press, Anne Moody is survived by her son, Sascha Straus, from her marriage to Austin Straus, which ended in divorce sisters Adline Moody, Virginia Gibson, Frances Jefferson and Vallery Jefferson and brothers Ralph Jefferson, James Jefferson and Kenneth Jefferson.


Civil Rights pioneer Anne Moody is now featured on the Mississippi Writers Trail (MWT) in Centreville. Her story is shared on an official marker on West Park Street North in The Louis Gaulden and Riquita Jackson Family Memorial Park, across from the Kevin Poole Van Cleave Library.

Moody, who wrote Coming of Age in Mississippi, and Mr. Death: Four Stories, was born and raised in Centreville. Both sides of the marker feature a biographical sketch of her life as a civil rights activist and her work as a writer.

The unveiling ceremony was organized by Maggie Lowery, cultural programs manager for Visit Mississippi, and Felicia Williams, who serves as alderwoman of Ward 1 in Centreville.

“It is my honor to be part of the program this morning,” said Dr. Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. “The Mississippi Writers Trail celebrates our state’s extraordinary literary heritage. We take tremendous pride in how great writers like Anne Moody took their experiences living in this sometimes difficult and complicated place to create profound art that has moved readers all across the world.”

Rockoff said Moody’s book affected him, a white man from Texas, on a personal level, after he read it in graduate school.

“The book has been widely assigned in universities because of its eloquent and bracing truth about the experience of growing up in a society profoundly shaped, or misshaped, by white supremacy,” he said, noting Moody grew up in a society that was “predicated on the idea that white lives matter more.”

According to Rockoff, the genius of Moody as a writer is how she was able to draw readers into her own experience. “We see the world of Jim Crow Mississippi through her eyes,” he said. “And once we experience this, we are forever changed.”

Rockoff was one of several people who spoke during the ceremony. John Moore, who serves as Centreville Mayor Pro Tempore and Alderman of Ward 3, provided the Invocation Dr. Roscoe Barnes III, chairman of the Anne Moody History Project, and Cultural Heritage Tourism manager for Visit Natchez, provided the Welcome. Barnes previously served as chaplain at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility, the birthplace of the Anne Moody History Project.

Alderwoman Williams shared remarks and facilitated the unveiling. Reading from the marker’s biographical sketch, Williams described Moody as a heroine of the civil rights movement. In Coming of Age, she said, Moody “lucidly and eloquently articulates what it was like to grow up in poverty, to suffer racial discrimination, and to fight for social change as a civil rights activist.”

Moody died in 2015 at the age of 74. At the time of her death, she was living in Gloster, Miss. She will now join other famous writers like Eudora Welty, Margaret Walker, Elizabeth Spencer, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, and Ida B. Wells.

News of the marker was first shared by Williams in December 2019. She had been working with Lowery to secure a place for its location. According to Lowery, funding for the project was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

The unveiling ceremony was initially set for March 31. However, it was postponed due to COVID-19.

Lowery attended the recent ceremony along with Kristen Brandt, arts industry director for Mississippi Arts Commission, and Marion Barnwell, a Mississippi historian. A few local citizens that included children also turned out for the event.

The Mississippi Writers Trail is an initiative of the Mississippi Arts Commission, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Mississippi, Mississippi Book Festival, Mississippi Humanities Council, Visit Mississippi, Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Mississippi Library Commission.


Civil Rights pioneer Anne Moody is now featured on the Mississippi Writers Trail (MWT) in Centreville. Her story is shared on an official marker on West Park Street North in The Louis Gaulden and Riquita Jackson Family Memorial Park, across from the Kevin Poole Van Cleave Library.

Moody, who wrote Coming of Age in Mississippi, and Mr. Death: Four Stories, was born and raised in Centreville. Both sides of the marker feature a biographical sketch of her life as a civil rights activist and her work as a writer.

The unveiling ceremony was organized by Maggie Lowery, cultural programs manager for Visit Mississippi, and Felicia Williams, who serves as alderwoman of Ward 1 in Centreville.

“It is my honor to be part of the program this morning,” said Dr. Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. “The Mississippi Writers Trail celebrates our state’s extraordinary literary heritage. We take tremendous pride in how great writers like Anne Moody took their experiences living in this sometimes difficult and complicated place to create profound art that has moved readers all across the world.”

Rockoff said Moody’s book affected him, a white man from Texas, on a personal level, after he read it in graduate school.

“The book has been widely assigned in universities because of its eloquent and bracing truth about the experience of growing up in a society profoundly shaped, or misshaped, by white supremacy,” he said, noting Moody grew up in a society that was “predicated on the idea that white lives matter more.”

According to Rockoff, the genius of Moody as a writer is how she was able to draw readers into her own experience. “We see the world of Jim Crow Mississippi through her eyes,” he said. “And once we experience this, we are forever changed.”

Rockoff was one of several people who spoke during the ceremony. John Moore, who serves as Centreville Mayor Pro Tempore and Alderman of Ward 3, provided the Invocation Dr. Roscoe Barnes III, chairman of the Anne Moody History Project, and Cultural Heritage Tourism manager for Visit Natchez, provided the Welcome. Barnes previously served as chaplain at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility, the birthplace of the Anne Moody History Project.

Alderwoman Williams shared remarks and facilitated the unveiling. Reading from the marker’s biographical sketch, Williams described Moody as a heroine of the civil rights movement. In Coming of Age, she said, Moody “lucidly and eloquently articulates what it was like to grow up in poverty, to suffer racial discrimination, and to fight for social change as a civil rights activist.”

Moody died in 2015 at the age of 74. At the time of her death, she was living in Gloster, Miss. She will now join other famous writers like Eudora Welty, Margaret Walker, Elizabeth Spencer, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, and Ida B. Wells.

News of the marker was first shared by Williams in December 2019. She had been working with Lowery to secure a place for its location. According to Lowery, funding for the project was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

The unveiling ceremony was initially set for March 31. However, it was postponed due to COVID-19.

Lowery attended the recent ceremony along with Kristen Brandt, arts industry director for Mississippi Arts Commission, and Marion Barnwell, a Mississippi historian. A few local citizens that included children also turned out for the event.

The Mississippi Writers Trail is an initiative of the Mississippi Arts Commission, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Mississippi, Mississippi Book Festival, Mississippi Humanities Council, Visit Mississippi, Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Mississippi Library Commission.


Further Reading

Branch, Taylor, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, Touchstone Books, 1989.

The first book of a two-volume series, this formidable social history profiles Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the other key players and events that helped shape the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Dittmer, John, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, University of Illinois Press, 1995.

This history covers the fight for racial equality in Mississippi from the post—World War II years through 1968.

Hampton, Henry, ed., Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s, Bantam Books, 1991.

Creating a fascinating narrative, the creator and executive producer of the PBS series The Eyes on the Prize draws on nearly one thousand interviews with activists, politicians, officials, and ordinary people who took part in the civil rights movement.

Hine, Darlene Clark, ed., The Eyes on the Prize: Civil Rights Reader, Penguin, 1991.

One of several companion pieces to the PBS Eyes on the Prize television series, this book collects over 100 court decisions, speeches, interviews, and other documents on the civil rights movement from 1954 to 1990.



Comments:

  1. Jaedon

    Are you kidding!

  2. Faukora

    Between us, they asked me for assistance from the users of this forum.

  3. Kami

    Excellent sentence



Write a message