Barnes to discuss life of civil rights pioneer Anne Moody at Natchez Historical Society

Published 1:08 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Dr. Roscoe Barnes III, cultural heritage tourism manager for Visit Natchez, will talk about civil rights pioneer Anne Moody and her memoir at the Tuesday, Feb. 27, meeting of the Natchez Historical Society. The meeting will begin with a social at 5:30 p.m. and Barnes’ presentation at 6 p.m., at the Historic Natchez Foundation at 108 S. Commerce St.

The event is free to the public. All are welcome, members and non-members alike.

Barnes’ presentation is titled, “Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi: Why It Matters.”

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His talk will show that while Anne Moody has not received the recognition she deserves, her memoir remains a significant contribution to Mississippi history and has critical implications for race relations, voting rights, human rights and equality in today’s society.

“Anne Moody’s astonishing life history is one of a girl who found grace and courage amid poverty, bigotry and discrimination,” said Barnes. “She overcame the devastating forces of racism, suffered beatings and endured multiple incarcerations and even death threats to help make the world – and the state of Mississippi – a better place to live.”

In addition to being a civil rights activist, Moody was the author of “Coming of Age in Mississippi,” a gripping memoir that has remained in print since the day it was first published in December 1968, according to Barnes.

Born in 1940, Moody grew up in Centreville, in Wilkinson County. After completing high school in Woodville, she enrolled at Natchez College, where she attended the school from 1959 to 1961 on a basketball scholarship. After graduating from Natchez College, she began her studies at Tougaloo College, where she became a civil rights activist.

Moody died on Feb. 5, 2015, at her home in Gloster, at the age of 74. She had been under the care of her sister, Adeline, who told the press that Anne had dementia for several years.

While referencing her book, Barnes noted Moody’s sacrifice and many accomplishments in the 1960s.

He said that she participated in peaceful protests, marches and sit-ins in an effort to desegregate businesses, churches and public facilities.

Despite the dangers at the time, she worked with several civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, CORE and SNCC, according to Barnes.

He said that she also participated in voter registration drives for Freedom Summer in 1964.

“Anne Moody and her book matter to us, and they matter in many significant ways,” said Barnes. “I look forward to talking about the impact of her life history and her literary contribution to American history.”

Barnes is the founding chairman of the Anne Moody History Project, a public history endeavor started in 2017 at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility, Woodville, to promote the legacy of Anne Moody and her book. Barnes writes about Moody at His work on Moody has resulted in national press coverage and citations in peer-reviewed journals.

Barnes is a member of the board of directors of both the Mississippi Historical Society and the Natchez Historical Society.

He holds a Ph.D. in Church History and Church Polity from the University of Pretoria, South Africa and a Master of Arts in Religion from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.

He earned his Bachelor of Science from East Coast Bible College, Charlotte, North Carolina.

In addition to being an independent scholar whose research focuses on Moody, F.F. Bosworth and Ernest Hemingway, Barnes is an award-winning newspaper journalist.

He is the author of multiple books, including “F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind ‘Christ the Healer’” (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and “Off to War: Franklin Countians in World War II” (White Mane Publishing, 1996).

Barnes’ articles have appeared in scores of newspapers, magazines, and academic journals, including Corrections Today, Good Grit Magazine, American Jails, The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, The Arkansas Review, Africa Journal of Pentecostal Studies, The Pneuma Review, Natchez Magazine and Refleks Journal.

Barnes’ work is also published in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism (Brill, 2021) and by the online encyclopedia,

His forthcoming articles will appear in the Mississippi Encyclopedia and the Dictionary of Pentecostal Mission.

This Feb. 27 program held by the historical society is funded in part by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

For more information, visit, call 601-492-3004 or send email to