T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History Collection
INTERVIEWEE NAME: Reverend Mary Moody COLLECTION: 4700.1514
IDENTIFICATION: Participant in Baton Rouge Bus Boycott, 1953
INTERVIEWER: Amy Horn
PROJECT: McKinley High School, Baton Rouge Bus Boycott
INTERVIEW DATES: April 17, 2002
FOCUS DATES: 1950s
Tape 3079, Side A
Moody born July 29, 1926; volunteered to drive her DeSoto during Baton Rouge Bus Boycott at the behest of Reverend T.J. Jemison; recollection of a woman she drove to work; Baton Rouge inspired Montgomery Bus Boycott; Martin Luther King, Jr., visited Baton Rouge to learn about boycott; Moody was first car owner in her family; African-Americans riding the bus in Baton Rouge often stood over empty seats reserved for whites; sit-ins in Baton Rouge started after the bus boycott; women played key role in boycott; meetings about boycott; fear of retaliation from whites; inspiration of “Steal Away,” a Negro spiritual; connection between Dr. King and Reverend Jemison; King’s book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story; Moody and Rosa Parks were both members of African Methodist Episcopal Church; contribution of Rosa Parks; news of bus boycott spread by word of mouth; urge to help people get to work on time so they wouldn’t lose jobs; even small contributions are important; success of movement; standing over vacant seats on bus on her way to McKinley High School; white drivers probably felt privileged; both Moody’s parents were teachers; man warned father to leave Hammond because whites thought he was too intelligent; considered man to have a caring heart and heeded his advice, moved; father eventually became supervisor of schools in West Baton Rouge Parish; walking was common form of transportation; economic impact of boycott; credit for boycott should go to God and Jemison; unsung heroes and heroines; feels connection with Rosa Parks; Moody called to ministry in 1972; pastored church in Saint Helena Parish for nine years; family connection to that church; details of career in church, pastored a total of twenty years; represented the African Methodist Episcopal Church at national and international meetings; serving churches in Fiji and Australia; now back at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church as associate pastor; believes she was called to serve God because He spared her during severe childhood illnesses; importance of having her mother at home as child; “When families can be strong, then cities can be strong. Nations can be strong”.
TAPES: 1 (T3079) TOTAL PLAYING TIME: 34 minutes
# PAGES TRANSCRIPT: 18
OTHER MATERIALS: Correspondence
RESTRICTIONS: Interviewee requested copies of taped interview and interviewee release
form, items mailed to interviewee on 1/23/2008.