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Grant number like: FZ-266854-19

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

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020

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

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.