Harry T. Moore    

Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore
Murder Investigation

    Harriette V. Moore photo

From: AGNews AGNews@oag.state.fl.us
Subject: Attorney General's News Briefs
December 2, 2005 - Volume 3, Issue 48:

Message from Attorney General Charlie Crist

This week the nation celebrated a seminal event in race relations that occurred 50 years ago. Then two days later, our office began the final phase of an investigation into a separate event that, though less known, may have actually marked the birth of the civil rights movement in America.

There can be no denying Rosa Parks' place in history. On December 1, 1955, she was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. Most Americans now know that her simple act of defiance gave rise to protests and change, and rightfully earned her the nickname "mother of the civil rights movement."

Tragically, four years before Mrs. Parks' action, that same commitment to equality and human dignity cost the life of Florida's first civil rights pioneer. On Christmas Day 1951, Harry T. Moore and his wife Harriette were brutally murdered when their small home in Mims was blown up.

What an act of cowardice that was. Those behind the bombing were afraid of what Harry Moore was saying and doing, so they killed him. They were afraid of being seen, so they slithered around under the cover of night to plant their hidden bomb. They were afraid of the consequences, and conducted a cover-up designed to ensure that no one ever knew who killed the Moores.

More than a half-century has passed since the Moores were murdered. Most potential witnesses are dead, and most of the forensic evidence is long since gone.

Hopefully, not all of it.

That is why one year ago I initiated a new investigation of the Moore murders. Our goal is to determine who was responsible for the bombing and, if possible, bring them to justice.

Over the past year, we have received numerous tips through our office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Crime Stoppers, which has offered a reward of up to $25,000 for information resolving the case. We have dedicated hundreds of man-hours investigating the case and interviewed more than 100 individuals who might have useful information to share.

Today we are launching the final phase of the investigation, by beginning an excavation of the Moore homesite. I was joined at the site by Evangeline Moore, Harry and Harriette's daughter. We hope to find evidence of the explosive used in the bombing, which could provide a direction for wrapping up our investigation. We are literally leaving no stone unturned.

For five decades, a conspiracy of silence has kept the people of Florida from learning the truth about one of the saddest chapters in our state's history.

For five decades, Evangeline Moore has been denied a sense of closure regarding her parents' murders.

And for five decades, Harry and Harriette Moore have been denied the honor and respect that can come from a public airing of the truth.

At a Tallahassee celebration of the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks' arrest this week, a local historian observed, "Rosa Parks stayed seated, and the world stood up." The world did not stand up and take notice when Harry and Harriette Moore were killed four years earlier, but today countless Floridians know of the important role this heroic couple played in our state's history.

If our investigation achieves nothing more than reminding people of the Moores' place in Florida and American history, it will have served a valuable purpose. But there are murderers still to be identified, and we will not rest until the mystery surrounding the deaths of Harry and Harriette Moore has been put to rest.

Charlie Crist

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