Who was Harry Moore?
In 1951, after celebrating Christmas Day, civil rights activist Harry T. Moore and his wife Harriette went to bed – ten minutes later, a bomb shattered their house and ended their lives. This event shattered any hope that the South was ready to give up centuries of white supremacy for a new era of racial equality.
Harry T. Moore was a distinguished school teacher and Executive Director of the Florida chapter of the NAACP. He ran a passionate crusade for equal rights and he could not be discouraged from his fight – either by the white power structure or the more cautious factions of his own movement. Although Moore’s assassination was a big event internationally in 1951, it was overshadowed by later events in the Civil Rights movement and eventually almost forgotten.
Moore paved the way for the ’60s Civil Rights movement. He was a tireless organiser and an dedicated champion of equal pay for black teachers and voter registration; during his tenure in the Florida NAACP he raised the number of Florida’s black voters to twice that of any other Southern state. He was also an eloquent and prolific letter writer, constantly petitioning government officials to right the many injustices committed against his people, including numerous instances of lynching and police brutality. It was his outspoken fervour about one of these cases, the notorious case of the Groveland Four – black youths accused, under murky circumstances, of raping a white woman – that many believe finally pushed the local Klan to silence him once and for all.