Dec. 23, 2019

Harry T. and Harriet Moore

Today’s History Lesson

Who were Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore?

Harry T. and his wife Harriette V. were the first true civil rights activists of the modern civil rights era in the State of Florida. Harry T. Moore organized the first Brevard County branch of the NAACP in 1934 and became its president. He would later travel throughout the state organizing branches and 1941 organized and became President of the Florida State Conference of NAACP branches. In 1945 he formed the Florida Progressive Voter's League and became its Executive Director. This organization was instrumental in helping register over 100,000 black voters in the State of Florida.

“On Christmas Day in 1951, Harry T. and Harriette Moore had just finished celebrating their silver anniversary, 25 years of blissful living as blissful as a black couple could be in the racially tense atmosphere of white hatred in Central Florida. The state Of Florida was more known for lynching than Mississippi, South Carolina Or Alabama. There lives together were shattered when a bomb blew up their home in Mims, Fla. The explosion killed the couple,” explains investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell in an article in the Clarion Ledger. Both had been teachers and civil rights activists.

Harry Moore died on the way to the hospital; Harriette Moore died nine days later, leaving behind two daughters, Evangeline and Annie Rosalea. Evangeline Moore dedicated her life to seeking justice for the death of her parents. Sixty-eight years ago on Christmas Day this horrible incident seared black communities across this nation.

It is imperative that we must keep the covered up black history alive in the minds of our youths. You won’t read about either Harry T. or Harriet Moore in the US History textbooks because Harry Moore was warrior who was irrelevant in white society in 1951. He was doing the work that many white folks saw as damaging to the cause of a white culture that ignored southern black folks. Harry was spreading the news of about the US Constitution that was written to protect rights and those rights applied to every citizen no matter his/her skin color. Recently I moved and live near the area that Harry T Moore traveled as an organizer for the NAACP. I still sense that Harry T Moore wouldn’t be totally satisfied with the progress of this nation related to race and racism. It is a known fact that the Moore’s were the first martyrs of the civil rights movement that shaped the 1950s’ and 1960s’. Their ultimate sacrifice should never be forgotten, today is the day to remember the names Harry T. and Harriet Moore on my blog of notable warriors of black history.

Keep men [and women] from being free?. . .
And this he says, our Harry Moore,
As from the grave he cries:
No bomb can kill the dreams I hold,
For freedom never dies!
— from “Ballad of Harry T. Moore” by Langston Hughes