Photo credits: NAACP/Tim Walters/Florida Today
Harry T. and Harriette Moore were a married, dedicated, and renowned civil rights advocating duo from Florida.
When they were slain in a bombing on December 25, 1951, in their own house by Ku Klux Klan (KKK) terrorists, they went out as freedom-fighting martyrs. Their success in advocating for the civil rights of Black Floridians left clues. Florida had the highest proportion of registered Black voters at the time of their deaths–vastly outnumbering any other Southern state.
Harry was born in a small town along the Florida Panhandle. However, three of his aunts raised him in Jacksonville, Florida. This city was home to a sizable and vibrant Black population. His aunts, two of whom were teachers, fostered Harry with a passion for study.
During the few annual cycles, which he spent under their watchful eyes and care, the educated aunts, in particular, heartily influenced young Harry’s race-based consciousness. They also sustainably underpinned the eventual politics-centered epiphany that blossomed later in life during his professional career.
He began the aforementioned career as a fourth-grade teacher at an all-Black primary school in Brevard County, Florida. After completing high school successfully, Harry met Harriette Vyda Simms, an educator turned life insurance broker. The like-minded young advocates began dating and ended up making their love official with nuptials.
Following their wedding, the trailblazing union enrolled at Bethune Cookman Institution (an HBCU) to finalize their collegiate program credentials. Eventually, Mr. and Mrs. Moore returned to the education field collectively and found work as better qualified professional educators.
The Moores founded an NAACP branch inside the borders of Brevard County, Florida in 1934. Initially, Mr. Moore maintained his position as an educator whilst serving his community on a volunteer basis with the NAACP for 10 years. He battled valiantly for Black Floridians’ to be granted equality under the law.
Despite the grave threat posed by angry white segregationists, Mr. Moore investigated lynchings, challenged restrictive policy changes for Black prospective registered voters, and fought for Black public school teachers to have equal pay.
Due to their revolutionary activities, Mr. and Mrs. Moore were ultimately terminated from the jobs they held in the education field. Afterward, Mr. Moore became a paid organizer for the NAACP. He advanced through the officer ranks of the organization’s Florida division to become its Executive Secretary.
During his tenure as Regional President of the NAACP’s Florida branch, the state’s membership count increased tremendously. A total of 10,000 active participants were added and fanned out over 60 municipal chapters under the state chapter’s umbrella. However, as always throughout American history, successful Blacks who won by the book could never rest on any laurels.
An unquenchable thirst for dominance, seething anger, and burning jealousy born of entitlement among primitive-minded Whites has too often served as a precursor to all-out orgies of violence. These unforgivable acts of White supremacist savagery were consistently equipped with the bloody murders of peace and justice-loving Black people who represent prosperity.
Mr. and Mrs. Moore were killed by a KKK’s bomb, which was planted after the couple’s occasion celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. This atrocity was the first of many bombings by angry white mobs, which occurred in Florida over the following several months. A “death to Black voters” agenda was a key ingredient of the Jim Crow mob mentality.
The Ku Klux Klan was intensifying its terrorist actions at this moment in Florida’s history in order to intimidate Black Floridians. Such an instance shows that the usage of coordinated bombing attacks to sow fear in Americans was not invented by Muslim extremist groups, which have members of Arabian, Persian, or Egyptian descent.
White supremacists sought to undermine the legal momentum established by exceptional campaigners like Mr. and Mrs. Moore. The KKK’s primitively conceived hatred has left an indelible stain on the United States’ societal fabric.
However, on the right side of history, Mr. and Mrs. Moore’s legacy of heroism, class, and civilized liberation fighting must endure.