Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

January 12, 1952

On January 12, 1952, the Cleveland Call and Post reported on the murder of Florida civil rights activists Harry T. Moore and his wife Harriette Vyda Simms Moore. The Moores’ home in Mims, Florida, a small citrus town, was bombed on Christmas night 1951. The case went unsolved for decades, but in 2006 forensic evidence found that the Moores were “were victims of a conspiracy by exceedingly violent members of a Central Florida Klavern of the Ku Klux Klan.” The couple were the first NAACP members killed for their civil rights activism, and the bombing was part of a larger terror campaign to intimidate black people and thwart their fight for freedom and equality. In the article Call and Post managing editor Charles Loeb wrote, “Grief-stricken Mrs. Rosa Moore, the 71-year-old mother of bomb-slain Harry T. Moore, who was the victim of a cowardly blast of his home on Christmas night, is symbolic of countless Negro mothers all over the bigoted southland, who tremble with fear when their sons and daughters dare rise up against the calculated terrorism that is the earmark of Dixie’s last-ditch fight to maintain white supremacy. Her son was one of her proudest possessions due to his ambitions and leadership in the Florida affairs of the NAACP and in education, religion and civic activities. Now her fond hopes are in the casket being borne to a hero’s grave.” Notably, Harriette Vyda Simms Moore is referred to only as Moore’s “faithful wife.”  

The case received media coverage and prompted protests across the country. Langston Hughes wrote a poem about the murders months later titled, “The Ballad of Harry Moore.”

For more information on the Moore case, see PBS’s Freedom Never Dies: The Legacy of Harry T. Moore, and this Washington Post 2011 profile of the the couple’s youngest daughter, “At Christmas, Evangeline Moore thinks of her martyred parents and demands justice.”


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