Harry T. Moore Homesite - Titusville, Florida


New York Herald Tribune, Thursday, December 27, 1951
By The United Press

N.A.A.C.P. Official Sought Prosecution of White Man Who Shot Prisoners; Wife Seriously Hurt

Mims, FL Dec. 26 Harry T. Moore, a Negro leader who campaigned to have a white sheriff prosecuted for shooting two handcuffed Negroes, was killed last night and his wife seriously injured by a bomb blast beneath their bedroom.

Mr. Moore, forty-six state coordinator for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a leading Negro educator in Florida, was the third Negro to die in the state from violence believed a result of the 1949 Goveland rape case.

His death in an explosion that wrecked one side of his home in this little town thirty miles south of Daytona, was the third racial flare-up in Florida within two months.

In New York, Walter White, executive secretary of the N.A.A.C.P accused Florida's Gov. Fuller Warren of consistently refusing "to take any steps to uphold law and order" in Florida. The Associated Press reported. Mr. White said the death of Mr. Moore "cannot be considered apart" from the Groveland case and the recent bombings of Jewish centers in Miami.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the state dispatched officers to Mims to help local officers investigate the explosion, which occurred at 10:30 last night.

Mr. Moore died en route to a Sanford hospital. His wife, Harriet, forty-nine, a school teacher, suffered a concussion and internal injuries. She was given only an even chance of surviving. Their daughter, Anna Rosa, and Mr. Moore's mother, Rosa, seventy-one, where asleep in an adjoining room and were not injured. Sheriff H. T. Williams and Coroner Vassar B. Carlton said the explosion which blasted the frame house in this Indian River Citrus community apparently was caused by Nitroglycerine or some other chemical stronger than dynamite.

Mrs. Moore's brother, Master Sgt. George Simms, who lives a short distance away, said he awoke and heard screams of "come quick." When he arrived, he said, the Moore bedroom was blasted away and Mr. Moore was lying on the mattress of his bed in the yard bleeding badly.

"I tried to get him to quit the N.A.A.C.P. thinking something might happen to him some day." Mr. Moore's mother said, "but he told me, "I'm trying to do what I can to elevate the Negro race."

"Every advancement comes by the way of sacrifice" she said her son told her recently, "and if I sacrifice my life or health I still think it is my duty for my race."

Mr. Moore raised funds and solicited support for the Negroes charged with raping a seventeen year-old white housewife at Groveland in 1949. One of the Negroes was killed by a posse and another, Samuel Shepherd, was killed last month by Sheriff Willis McCall, of Lake County.

The sheriff shot Shepherd and wounded the third Groveland rape defendant, Walter Lee Irvin, while they were handcuffed together. Irvin testified that the sheriff deliberately shot them, but a coroner's jury ruled the incident was in line of duty when the men attempted to escape.

The N.A.A.C.P. urged Gov. Warren and the Department of Justice to investigate the killing of Mr. Moore, who also was a former executive secretary of a political organization sponsoring Negro voting.

In a telegram, the N.A.A.C.P. requested Attorney General J. Howard McGrath to receive "at the earliest possible date" a representative delegation of national and Florida organizations to discuss steps "which must be taken to end these outrages."

It said the N.A.A.C.P. intended to invite top leadership of civic, religious, racial, labor and other national groups to join in conference with the Attorney General.

F.B.I. Sends Agents
The F.B.I sent two agents from its Daytona beach office and Gov. Warren sent a personal investigator to the scene. A coroner's jury viewed Mr. Moore's body, when to Mr. Moore's wrecked home and then recessed without announcing any findings.

Henry K. Hudson, editor of "The Titusville Star-Advocate," described Mr. Moore as a "good law abiding citizen . . . highly respected."

"I don't know of any enemies he could have had in Brevard County." Mr. Hudson said. "Most local authorities believe that the bombing was done by some one from outside the county." Titusville is five miles from Mims.

Mr. Moore, a graduate of Bethune-Cookman College, in Daytona Beach, and his family were away from their home most of the time. Mr. Moore traveled for the N.A.A.C.P., his mother lived most of the time in Jacksonville, his daughter taught school at Ocala and his wife taught at Lake Park. They had gathered at their home here for Christmas.

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