Remembering Harry and Harriette Moore

By Brown, Luther, Jr. | The New Crisis, May/June 1999 | Go to article overview

Remembering Harry and Harriette Moore


Brown, Luther, Jr., The New Crisis


It could not be in Jesus' name,

Beneath the bedroom floor,

On Christmas night the killers

Hid the bomb for Harry Moore.

It could not be in Jesus' name

The killers took his life,

Blew his home to pieces

And killed his faithful wife.

- Ballad of Harry Moore

by Langston Hughes

Long before Medgar Evers, Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr., there was Harry T. Moore, perhaps the first martyred leader of the 20th Century's nascent civil rights movement in the United States. Poet Langston Hughes memorialized Moore, a scholarly but shy school teacher, and his wife, Harriette, shortly after they were murdered in 1951 and an international clamor about racial injustice in the U.S. ensued. But as with so much of African American history, the story of Harry and Harriette Moore receives little notice in the history books.

That may be about to change. At a recent meeting of the NAACP's regional council in Miami, Stetson Kennedy, a white former FBI agent and one-time informant for civil rights groups, donated over 2,000 pages of official and unredacted FBI documents concerning the murders of the Moores to NAACP Chairman and CEO Julian Bond, President Kweisi Mfume and Florida NAACP President Leon Russell. When the official FBI investigation of the murders was completed, Kennedy continued to investigate them on his own, filing and obtaining Freedom of Information Act requests and retrieving all manner of other documents related to the case.

In a statement, the ailing Kennedy said, "I am very happy and thankful that the documents are in the hands of Mr. Moore's own people and that eventually these documents will be placed with the NAACP's papers in a location for access by all Americans. I am convinced that this is in the public interest and the national interest and in the interest of better law enforcement."

The story of Harry Moore is representative of all that was woefully wrong about life in the U.S. for its black citizens. On December 21, 1951, at 10:20 p.m., a bomb exploded beneath the Moores' bedroom in Mims, Fla.(pop. 1,081), some 40 miles due south of Daytona Beach. Set by unknown conspirators, the bomb killed them both as they and their two children lay sleeping. The children survived. It was the Moores' 25th wedding anniversary. The bombers have never been brought to justice. One white man who saw the wreckage of the home commented, "That's one coon who will keep his mouth shut."

The outcry over the murder was startling. Blacks were routinely lynched for far less crimes than political activism, so the murder of yet another black was nothing new. But the cowardly slaying of the Moores was different. Newspapers around the globe reported the atrocity. Communist organizations used the story for recruitment and anti-American propaganda. At the United Nations, Russia led other countries in condemning the U.S. for permitting such heinous acts.

Eleanor Roosevelt warned: "That kind of violent incident will be spread all over every country in the world, and the harm it will do us among the people of the world is untold."

When Kennedy released the papers, Leon Russell observed: "We believe the motive for the assassination was his (Moore's) work in the political arena. Harry Moore had filed a lawsuit that ended the lily white Democratic primary in the State of Florida, which obviously gave African Americans an opportunity to vote in the state.

He was also a champion of challenging police brutality and police use of force. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Remembering Harry and Harriette Moore
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.