Even early in her childhood Anne’s talent for writing was apparent. She would often write long letters and kept a diary, in addition to starting a novel in third grade. The push for her to pursue a career in journalism came from Anne’s mother, Anita McCarty. Anita attended the University of Kentucky and worked as a reporter for the student newspaper The Kentucky Kernel during her time in college. Anita tried to educate Anne about journalism and would take her to visit published authors and journalists when they visited Anniston. Throughout her childhood Anne continued to write in addition to working for her high school newspaper.
In 1941 Anne entered Stratford College, which was a two year women’s college. Anne thrived during her time at Stratford and won many awards and honors. There she edited the school newspaper, The Traveler. In 1943 Anne started school at Randolph Macon Women’s College, where she graduated in 1945. Anne’s college experience had opened her eyes to racial injustices as well as the global political climate. She was eager to begin a career as a journalist.
After graduating, Anne began working as a reporter for the Anniston Star, her hometown newspaper. She began reporting on subjects that related to the Cold War.
“After the war we had this sense that things weren’t going to be this great smooth sail into the future. I could sense that even in the very restricted world I was in in Alabama…” – Anne Braden (Subversive Southerner, pg. 60)
While working for the Anniston Star, Anne began to better recognize the racial and social injustices occurring in Alabama. She was driven by her career and did not strive for the life of a typical Alabama housewife.
Anne also worked for the newspapers the News & Observer, The Tennessean, and The Age Herald. The Age Herald, a Birmingham newspaper, opened her eyes to segregation and injustices in the legal system. This is when her civil rights activism started to take off.
Tired of the culture of the deep south, Anne moved to Louisville, Kentucky to work for the Louisville Times. In Louisville Anne met future husband Carl Braden and began to work with civil rights activists.
After the Wade Case, both Anne and husband Carl began working for The Southern Patriot after loosing their previous jobs. She became editor, dedicating the paper to racial progress. Her tactics as a journalist involved not only writing stories, but collecting oral histories that would shape her later activism.
“You could write a story about somebody, and that gave you an excuse to go talk to people. So you got to know them, they began to come into your orbit, and then you could call on them to do other things.” – Anne Braden (Subversive Southerner, pg. 218)
In 1958 she published her memoir The Wall Between, which focused on her experiences with the sedition trials surrounding the Wade Case.