Speech : December 14, 2003
I have been asked to share with you what it was like living with Mr. Moore.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE MOORESBreakfast, table set, we sit down to eat. Dad ate extremely slowly. We all sat at the table until he finished. Then off to school - the four of us. When mom and dad taught at Mims Elementary School and Peaches and I were in that school, we all traveled there together.
We came back home to a quiet dinner. Dad took at least an hour to finish his dinner. We all sat at the table until he finished. Half way through the meal, one of us warmed the remainder of his dinner so that he would not eat cold food. He had a severe digestive problem.
Evenings found him in his rocking chair reading or at the typewriter typing. He was often the last to retire.
ENTERTAINMENT AT THE MOORES:On Saturday evenings we often played whist while listening to music. We had a graph a pone. The records were stacked in this order: dad liked blues and Negro spirituals. Mom enjoyed Hawaiian music, Peaches liked big band jazz, and I liked blues and anything that sounded romantic. My dad was a romantic person and I am still a hopeless romantic. Speaking of romanticism, my parents were a most romantic couple. Walking into a room and finding them embracing was commonplace.
There were other things we did for entertainment as a family - always the four of us. We made many trips to the ocean on moonlight nights for picnics. Often on Saturdays we drove to either Orlando or to Daytona to shop, have dinner and see a movie. The reason for our going such a long distance was that dad was determined we would avoid discriminatory practices in any form. Daytona and Orlando afforded Black restaurants, and Black movie houses.
Dad was fond of Western books and movies. The first novel I read was "Drag Harlan" who had a very intelligent horse named Purgatory. I remember seeing Westerns like Jesse James and the Return of Frank James.
I still look at re-runs of these movies whenever I see them listed in the TV guide.
MY PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH DAD:I followed dad everywhere. I remember times when he was preparing to make his morning run to the Post Office and I was not dressed. I d call out wait for me daddy. He waited, never impatiently. He was very protective. Peaches and I were not allowed to walk anywhere. I worked at Bethune-Cookman the summer after I graduated. My dad and mom had sub-let an apartment approximately three blocks down what was then Second Avenue.
Dad drove me to work every morning, He was always waiting to take me home for lunch where mom always had a hot lunch waiting. He drove me back to work after lunch and was always waiting for me at the end of my work day.
One of the most poignant memories happened the summer after my freshman year. Mom took classes at BCC and Peaches worked there that summer. I stayed home to prepare meals and run the household for my mother.
One night I awakened with one of my almost intolerable stomach aches. I had them often. Dad heard me pacing up and down in my room, came in and asked what was wrong. I told him my stomach was hurting. He left the room and came back with the hot tea my mother always gave me to ease the pain and make me drowsy enough to enable me to sleep. When I awakened the following morning, dad was asleep beside my bed in a rocking chair. How protected I felt!
Throughout my later childhood, through my teens until I entered college, I was dads girl Friday. I kept his papers organized. I ran the ditto machine -- most of you don't know what that machine was like. Xerox machines have replaced those machines. I stuffed envelops to be mailed, licked envelopes and stamps and, of course, followed him to the post office to mail them.
In my early teens I began delivering his yearly addresses to the NAACP State Conference Conventions. That meant months of my learning the material and his coaching me until my delivery was perfect. What nightmares I had about my delivery, but I never made a mistake.
The Florida State Conference of NAACP Youth Councils was very much alive. I was a state officer -- either secretary and treasurer I believe. The president was Emmanuel Eaves from Jacksonville and the vice president, Henry Finley from West Palm Beach. Dad and I traveled frequently to those meetings.
He was a brilliant historian and we shared a love of poetry and prose.
First Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 4 - 8 is my absolute favorite passage in the Bible. It reads "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth. It always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
Harry Moore was a loving person. He was the most PATIENT person one could know. He was KIND. He was never ENVIOUS. He was never BOASTFUL. He knew no FALSE PRIDE. He was never RUDE. He was not SELF SEEKING because he never bragged about what he was doing. He was not EASILY ANGERED, I never saw him angry. He kept NO RECORD OF WRONGS. He was always FORGIVING. He DID NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL. He fought evil. He REJOICED WITH TRUTH. He was TRUTHFUL. He always TRUSTS. He was trusting to a fault. He was full of HOPE. He hoped to make a better world for his people. Love NEVER FAILS. He did not FAIL. Instead he DIED.
First John, Chapter 3, verse 16 reads: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." Harry Moore laid down his life for his Black brothers and he did it WILLINGLY.
My challenge to you today is: Strive to be a Harry Tyson Moore.
To sum up my description of Harry T. Moore's character I would say he was Loving, had the strength of a Sampson, and gave his all.
I hope my sharing "Life with Dad" with you has given you some idea of the great man he was. To me he was just daddy.
I leave you with a statement he often used during meetings:
Courage brother, do not stumble though your path be dark as night. There's a star to guide the humble. Trust in God and do the right.
Juanita Evangeline Moore
We welcome your memories of your experiences with the Moores.
For information, or if you need any help, please call Dave at 321-267-7367.
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