In 1963, Anne Moody participated in the famous sit-in at Woolworth lunch counter in Jackson, together with fellow Tougaloo student Joan Trumpauer and Tougaloo professor John Salter Jr. A white mob attacked Moody and her companions and poured flour, sugar, ketchup and mustard on them. Photo courtesy AP/Fred Blackwell/Jackson Daily News
The Mississippi Department of Transportation will hold a dedication ceremony for the Anne Moody Memorial Highway on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m. at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church (8755 Highway 24 E., Centerville). The Mississippi legislature passed a bill in 2018 to name the stretch of highway in Wilkinson County after Moody, a civil-rights activist who wrote a memoir titled "Coming of Age in Mississippi."
Moody was born in Centerville in 1940 and was the oldest of eight children. She graduated with honors from a segregated, all-black high school and enrolled at Natchez Junior College on a basketball scholarship in 1961. She later transferred to Tougaloo College on an academic scholarship, where she helped organize a civil-rights organization called the Congress of Racial Equality. She was also a member of the NAACP and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
In 1963, Moody participated in the famous sit-in at Woolworth lunch counter in Jackson, together with fellow Tougaloo student Joan Trumpauer and Tougaloo professor John Salter Jr. A white mob attacked Moody and her companions and poured flour, sugar, ketchup and mustard on them. Photos of the incident that appeared in the Jackson Daily News became iconic images in the Civil Rights Movement.
Moody also took part in the March on Washington in 1963 and the Voter Registration Project in 1964. After graduating from Tougaloo in 1964, she worked as the civil rights project coordinator for Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., until 1965. She later moved to New York City, where she published “Coming of Age in Mississippi” in 1968. Moody’s autobiography details her childhood, her struggles against racism in the South and her work as a civil-rights activist.
In 1972, Moody traveled to Berlin to work as an artist-in-residence in the city. She returned to the United States in 1974 and released a collection of short stories titled “Mr. Death: Four Stories” in 1975. She later published a second autobiography titled “Farewell to too Sweet,” which she wrote in honor of her mother, Elmira “Too Sweet” Williams Moody.
Moody moved back to Mississippi during the 1990s and died at her home in Gloster on Feb. 5, 2015, at age 74.
Transportation Commissioner Tom King, Mississippi Rep. Angela Cockerham and Moody’s brother, Rev. Fred Moody Jr., will attend the dedication ceremony. For more information about the Anne Moody Memorial Highway dedication ceremony, call 601-359-9777.