CENTREVILLE, Miss. — The Town of Centreville has been approved for a Mississippi Freedom Trail marker that will honor the legacy of Anne Moody and her work in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, announced John Spann, program and outreach officer for the Mississippi Humanities Council.
Spann shared the news Thursday, Dec. 14, following a meeting of the Freedom Trail Scholarly Review Committee.
The memorial to Moody will be the first Freedom Trail marker erected in Wilkinson County. The location has not been determined, but it will be posted in 2024, according to Spann.
The Mississippi Freedom Trail was created to commemorate the people and places in the state that played a pivotal role in the American Civil Rights Movement. As of Dec. 14, a total of 35 new markers have been approved. The Freedom Trail markers are managed by the Mississippi Humanities Council, with partnership and funding provided by Visit Mississippi.
Moody’s family, along with Centreville residents, business, and community leaders, were ecstatic about Moody receiving a Freedom Trail marker.
“This is exciting news,” said Frances Jefferson, Moody’s sister. “This will certainly help the current generation to understand the importance of her work for civil rights and her legacy.”
Felicia Williams, Moody’s cousin and former Centreville Alderwoman, said the marker will be good for Centreville and for Wilkinson County.
“I was elated to receive a phone call informing me that Anne Moody would be honored on the Mississippi Freedom Trail,” she said. “This is not just an honor for her and her family but also for the Centreville community. Anne suffered greatly for a cause in which she believed in and a cause that now allows African Americans to live the long talked about American dream.”
Moody, who was born and raised in Centreville, was a civil rights activist and the author of “Coming of Age in Mississippi,” which chronicles her life as a poor Black girl growing up under Jim Crow. The book also provides riveting accounts of her work in the struggle for civil rights.
In raw detail, Moody wrote about the sacrifices that she and others made in the fight for freedom and justice. She also recounted the challenges and threats she faced during nonviolent protests to register voters and desegregate public spaces.
In 2021, her work as a writer was officially recognized on the Mississippi Writers Trail. A historical marker recognizing her work was posted and unveiled in The Louis Gaulden and Riquita Jackson Family Memorial Park in Centreville.
Moody died at her home in 2015 at the age of 74. At the time of her death, she was living in Gloster, a small town located nine miles north of Centreville.
The Reverend Larry Lee, former mayor of Centreville, said he is happy to see Moody recognized on the Freedom Trail.
The Mississippi Freedom Trail Marker for Anne Moody is a great honor to mark the trail blazed through her sacrifice and contribution during the Civil Rights Movement,” he said. “Anne Moody is an icon for those who wanted justice, freedom and hope for communities suppressed by the challenges of racism in Mississippi. I am grateful to the Committee for choosing to bestow such a great honor in memory of Anne Moody.”
Guy McNabb, president of the Centreville Chamber of Commerce, agreed. “This is great news!” he said. “Centreville Chamber of Commerce is honored to have given our letter of support for a historic event such as this.”
McNabb said the chamber is proud to be a partner for this project.
Support for the marker was echoed by Centreville Town Clerk Kimberly Montgomery. “This is wonderful news,” she said. “Although we were hoping to recognize Mr. Samuel O’Quinn with this significant marker, I am equally thrilled to further recognize the works of Anne Moody.”
Montgomery said the new marker will undoubtedly “help to keep the history of Centreville relevant.”