Volume XIV February 6, 2004
Message from Speaker Byrd
SALUTE TO AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH
"Freedom never descends upon a people.
It is always bought with a price."
- Harry T. Moore
Sacrifice in pursuit of freedom is one of the noblest endeavors known to man. When it comes to the civil rights struggle, I can think of no one who sacrificed more for the cause than Harry T. and Harriette Moore. Harry T. Moore was a stalwart force for civil rights and freedom in Florida. The history of the struggle in Florida is built around his efforts to organize, petition, and communicate the cause of Florida's black citizens.
Together with his faithful wife, Harriette, he organized the first Brevard County Chapter of the NAACP in 1934. Harry went on to serve a successful tenure as head of the Florida NAACP and, together this husband and wife team led the fight for equality. As executive secretary of the Progressive Voters League, he pushed relentlessly to open registration opportunities for black voters, himself helping register tens of thousands throughout Florida.
He was the conscience of Florida during the days of racial violence and lynchings. He was bold and undaunted by the established powers. And despite all that these two amazing individuals did for the good of their state and its people, their voices fell silent on Christmas night, 1951. On this night, the Moore home in Mims, Florida, was bombed by unknown assailants, marking the first assassination of a prominent civil rights leader.
This month, we celebrate African-American History. I can think of no greater tribute to African-American History in Florida or the nation than to salute and remember the contributions of Harry T. and Harriette Moore. To that end, the Brevard County Commission is undertaking a restoration of the Moore homesite in Mims, declared a Florida Historical Heritage Landmark in 1999. This has been supported with the Legislature's appropriation in 1998 of $700,000.
Yet, more profound than even monuments, the legacy of this husband and wife is most notably honored when we allow their lives to remind us that the freedom of Floridians has come at a great price. History has afforded the Moores little recognition for their ultimate sacrifice. Yet Floridians should count these two patriots of freedom among those who have made this state so great and so free.
In 2001, PBS showcased a documentary on the Moore legacy. www.pbs.org/harrymoore/
Harry T. Moore Homesite webpage:
|"Photos courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection, The Florida Archives, Department of State"
Reprinted with permission from the Florida House of Representatives Newsletter Vol. XIV, February 6, 2004.