Research Programs: Public Scholars

Period of Performance

9/1/2019 - 8/31/2020

Funding Totals

$60,000.00 (approved)
$60,000.00 (awarded)

A Biography of American Author and Civil Rights Activist Anne Moody (1940-2015)

FAIN: FZ-266854-19

Leigh Ann Wheeler
SUNY Research Foundation, Binghamton (Binghamton, NY 13902-4400)

Research and writing leading to a biography of Anne Moody (1940-2015), author of the Civil Rights Era memoir Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968).

This project will produce the first biography of Anne Moody, author of the most influential and beloved memoir of the Civil Rights Movement, Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968). All who read it wonder: What happened after Anne left Mississippi? My biography will unearth Anne’s family history, document and expand on her experiences as a child and civil rights activist, follow her to New York, Europe, and around the U.S., and return with her to Mississippi, where she died at 75 in 2015. In her 20s, Anne began to show signs of mental illness. She and her son survived on book royalties; sometimes they were homeless; sometimes Anne was institutionalized. My biography will assure that Anne gains her rightful place in American history and letters. It will also contribute to the urgent project of upending triumphalist narratives of the Civil Rights Movement, redrawing the arc of civil rights history, and forcing us to reconsider the costs exacted by racism and borne by those who resist it.

Associated Products

“Anne Moody’s Global Citizenship During the Late Cold War” (Book Section)
Title: “Anne Moody’s Global Citizenship During the Late Cold War”
Author: Leigh Ann Wheeler
Editor: Shelley E. Rose
Editor: Jennifer V. Evans
Abstract: Anne Moody cemented her legacy as a major figure in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in 1968 when she published her bestselling memoir, Coming of Age in Mississippi. Soon after, she left the Movement and the United States. Northern racism, black nationalism, and FBI surveillance eroded her hopes for equality, racial integration, and her own personal safety. Like so many disillusioned black Americans before her, in 1969 Moody fled to France, hoping to find, if not opportunity, then at least respite. Her years in Europe provided her with a global stage to speak about civil rights; as a U.S. citizen, her voice validated, in its very existence, even as it denied, in its specific substance, her nation’s claims to lead the “free world.” By taking her stories of American racism to an international audience and recasting civil rights in terms of human rights, Moody developed a new identity and a new activist role. She was not simply a disgruntled expatriate, but a global citizen who invited the world to scrutinize her home country. In this capacity, she also exhorted her host countries to consider their own culpability in violations of human and civil rights, particularly as proponents of nationalism, specifically through sport.
Year: 2020
Publisher: Berghahn Books
Book Title: Gender in Global Contexts: Labor, Law, and Human Rights