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Anne Moody the freedom fighter who came of age

Updated on March 10, 2015

Anne Moody was raised in Mississippi, America; she was born on 21 September 1940, the oldest of nine children. Her parents were Fred and Elnire Moody, growing up she lived with her mother after her parents divorced. While Moody was at school she proved to be an academic student consistently achieving A’s and B’s in school subjects. Growing up in poverty she would often clean houses in order to support her family. In 1955, the lynching and torture of Emmitt Till a black, fourteen-year-old, from Mississippi. Moody was horrified by the murder and court trial in which the prosecuted men responsible were acquitted. Even though months later after the trial, in a magazine interview the pair confessed to the lynching of Till.


In 1959, after finishing high school, Moody lived with her aunt while she searched for a job as a waitress. In the summer of that year, Moody was offered and accepted a basketball scholarship at Natchez Junior College. When she completed her scholarship at Natchez College, she enrolled at Tougaloo (Mississippi) College. During her years at Tougaloo, Moody became involved with the Civil Rights movement. She foundered along with other members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In 1963, Moody helped organise a lunch sit in protest at the Woolwich luncheon. The following year, she finally graduated with a bachelor degree in science from Tougaloo. The horror she still felt years later after the murder of Till continued to haunt her. It was after graduating that her devotion to the civil rights movement was stronger than it ever had been before.

In the same year, she managed to find a job as a civil rights project co-ordinator at Cordell University, in New York. In 1965, Moody started to feel dissatisfied with the certain aspects of the civil rights movement. In 1967, Moody met and fell in love with Austin Straus whom she married and had one child, Sasha. Unfortunately they marriage wasn‘t to last and a soon afterwards they both separated and eventually they divorced.

In 1968, she joined Dr Martin Luther King Jr in the Civil Rights march to Washington in which he gave one of his famous speeches. Since Luther’s speech in Washington, Moody had a close professional relationship with him following his speech.

In the same year, she wrote her first novel Coming of Age in Mississippi, her biography in which she talks about her upbringing and involvement in the Civil Rights movement. Winning the Brotherhood award from the National council of Christians and Jews and the international PEN/Faulkner award, was one of many awards that Moody received. In 1975, her second novel was Death: four stories were published that year. In the later years of her life, Moody withdrew from public life and has declined interviews from journalists. Preferring a private life away from the media's attention, she moved to New York where she has lived ever since. Moody works as a counsellor in the poverty program in New York where she continues to write.

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