Part II: Remembering a Civil-Rights Hero at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility

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Glen Conley is incarcerated at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville, MS. He’s been involved in the Anne Moody History Project, an effort organized by staff to bring to life the legacy of a local civil-rights pioneer. Glen was one of many incarcerated men to participate in a book club where they studied Anne Moody’s memoir, “Coming of Age in Mississippi”.

“But when I read this book,” says Glen, “somehow it’s like the light came on. And I became a student both of writing and history.”

After intensely researching the memoir of Anne Moody, Glen authored an abstract which has gained the attention of scholars throughout the nation. He is one of several men who were inspired by the Anne Moody History Project initiative. The group’s efforts have resulted in many honors bestowed upon Anne, as well as nationwide recognition.

Scott Middlebrooks is the warden at MTC’s Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.

“Their initiative and their foresight,” he states, “is what propelled this project into the limelight so that Anne Moody can get the recognition she deserves.”

“It’s a community service project,” explains Dr. Roscoe Barnes III, a member of the Anne Moody History Project, “that involves, not just the staff, but it involves the men who are incarcerated here.”

James Boggan, inspired by what he learned from the Anne Moody History Project, created artwork to display at a facility program honoring Anne Moody.

“Because at the time that we live in,” says James, “still, there’s still problems between everybody, whether it’s racial or whatever kind of discrimination there is.  And it’s ridiculous. It’s 2019, and it’s time to move on.”

Dr. Barnes praises the men who became involved in the project.

“These men are as gifted, are as intelligent, they are as talented as anybody in the free world. And so, if we can help them use the gifts that they were born with or the gifts that they’ve been given, they can find fulfillment, they can change their behavior, they can see things in themselves they didn’t see before.”

“My objective is to become a Moody scholar,” says Glen. “I want to learn about her in a way that whenever her name comes up, my name will come up, and someone will say ‘hey, ask that guy, he knows all about her.’”

Tony Bounds is an archivist at Tougaloo College. He and the facility’s Anne Moody History Project are sharing resources in the college’s Anne Moody collection.

“I have to admit,” smiles Tony, referring to the project’s origination being that of a correctional facility. “I haven’t heard of anything quite like this before—but it’s invigorating. It shows promise in that this could be a stepping stone for something greater for those men that are there, but, however, it’s a broader context, it’s broader than that.”

“My main goal,” summarizes Glen, “my long-term goal with this project is to hopefully bring a sense of harmony and unity between people of various groups.”

For Part I of this story, CLICK HERE.