Anne McCarty Braden was born in Kentucky and raised in Alabama to a white middle-class family that accepted Southern racial segregation. After graduation from Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Virginia, she went to work as a newspaper reporter. In 1948, she married Carl Braden, also a journalist and a labor organizer with whom she had three children. She became a supporter and then a leader of the civil rights movement despite the opposition and threats of many fellow southerners. In 1954, she was charged with sedition for attempting to desegregate an all-white suburban neighborhood of Louisville, KY by helping a black couple buy a house. She wrote a book about her trial, The Wall Between (1959), which was nominated for the National Book Award.