Although Anne Moody had been working within the rank-and-file of civil rights activism, she was galvanized to step up her involvement and move in a different direction both by specific events and by evaluating the overall direction the movement had been taking.
When Moody was growing up in small-town Mississippi, racial tension was a constant. The murder of a young African American boy, Emmett Till, for allegedly whistling at a white woman made her fear for her own life and provided the stimulus for her to start attending NAACP meetings. As she moved away from her town and attended Entering Tugaloo College, however, she became further aware of the sharp racial divide. Harassment and even death threats made her realize that as she was not immune to discrimination, neither could she stand aside and watch others work for her rights. At college, she began more direct involvement, such as organizing and participating in lunch counter sit-ins and enduring verbal and physical abuse as well as arrest.
Moody traveled with a group to Washington, DC for the August 1963 March on Washington. While she was caught up in the spirit of the huge assembly, she could not shake her impression that the tone was not quite right. Dr. King’s approach seemed too idealistic; she worried that he had distanced himself from the daily grind that occupied her. Returning home, she accelerates her involvement with voter registration drives.