Anne Moody was a civil rights activist who was immortalized via a photo showing an angry white mob physically assaulting her during a peaceful lunch counter protest in 1963. Moody ultimately chronicled her journey in an award-winning book but never sought the spotlight.
Moody was born in the Centreville area of Mississippi as the eldest of eight children reared by her single mother. Facing poverty and the enduring racial tensions of the deep South, Moody threw herself into academics and athletics. In 1961, Moody earned a basketball scholarship to the all-Black Natchez Junior College before entering Tougaloo College.
While at Tougaloo, Moody worked alongside groups such as the NAACP, SNCC, and CORE. As part of this work, Moody joined a Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in protest in May of 1963. Moody and her compatriots were verbally and physically assaulted by angry white mobs who poured condiments and other items on their heads.
After leaving college, Moody was part of the organizers of the Freedom Summer events in 1964. After a move to New York City, she penned her memoir, “Coming Of Age In Mississippi,” which was her account of her time in the movement.
The book, released in 1968, won two awards the following year. The first was the Brotherhood Award from the National Council of Christians and Jews, and the second, the Best Book of The Year Award from the National Library Association.
In 1975, Moody’s collection of short stories for youth readers, Mr. Death, was published. She also won one more award from Mademoiselle magazine for a story titled “New Hope For The Seventies.”
Moody, who died in 2015 at 74, stayed out of the limelight and never granted interviews. A divorcee, she is survived by one son, Sascha Straus.