This ballad was written by Mr. Langston Hughes

Ballad of Harry Moore

(Killed at Mims, Florida, on Christmas night, 1951)
                     


Florida means land of flowers.
It was on Christmas night
In the state named for the flowers
Men came bearing dynamite.

Men came stealing through the orange groves
Bearing hate instead of love,
While the Star of Bethlehem
Was in the sky above.

Oh, memories of a Christmas evening
When Wise Men traveled from afar
Seeking out a lowly manger
Guided by a Holy Star!

Oh, memories of a Christmas evenin
When to Bethlehem there came
"Peace on earth, good will to men"--
Jesus was His name.

But they must've forgotten Jesus
Down in Florida that night
Stealing through the orange groves
Bearing hate and dynamite.

It was a little cottage,
A family, name of Moore.
In the windows wreaths of holly,
And a pine wreath on the door.

Christmas, 1951,
The family prayers were said
When father, mother, daughter,
And grandmother went to bed.

The father's name was Harry Moore.
The N.A.A.C.P.
Told him to carry out its work
That Negroes might be free.

So it was that Harry Moore
(So deeply did he care)
Sought the right for men to live
With their heads up everywhere.

Because of that, white killers,
Who like Negroes "in their place,"
Came stealing through the orange groves
On that night of dark disgrace.

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.

It could not be for the sake of love
They did this awful thing--
For when the bomb exploded
No hearts were heard to sing.

And certainly no angels cried,
"Peace on earth, good will to men"--
But around the world an echo hurled
A question: When?...When?....When?

When will men for sake of peace
And for democracy
Learn no bombs a man can make
Keep men from being free?

It seems that I hear Harry Moore.
From the earth his voice cries,
No bomb can kill the dreams I hold--
For freedom never dies!

I will not stop! I will not stop--
For freedom never dies!
I will not stop! I will not stop!
Freedom never dies!

So should you see our Harry Moore
Walking on a Christmas night,
Don't run and hide, you killers,
He has no dynamite.

In his heart is only love
For all the human race,
And all he wants is for every man
To have his rightful place.

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!

Freedom never dies, I say!
Freedom never dies!




The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, editor Arlond Rampersad and associate editor David Roessel. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1995, pages 588-590.




From the book: "Those Left Out - Famous People Left Out Of The History Books," DeLaura Junior High School, Multicultural Research Project, Satellite Beach, Florida, December 25, 1995. Short biographies of 95 historical figures.



|| BACK to DeLaura Junior High School project || BACK to Moore HomePage || To Postage Stamp Introduction ||