Harry T. Moore: An Activist of Valor

To kick off the new year, the Lewis and Lucretia Taylor House Museum of African-American History, Culture and Civil Rights has opened a new exhibit in honor of civil-rights activist Harry T. Moore.

Called “Moses in his day: Harry T. Moore and Florida’s Struggle for Civil Rights,” the museum opened Moore’s exhibit to the public last December.

The room displays photos of Moore along with memorabilia and selected papers from Moore. Moore was America’s first civil rights martyr, according to the museum. During the early 40s civil rights activists weren’t common.

Moore spoke out against lynchings and promoted voter registration for African-Americans. Moore worked in Tallahassee and throughout Florida.

He single-handedly registered 116,000 blacks to vote. Moore and his wife also founded the first National Association of the Advancement of Colored People branch in Broward County.

Delaitre Hollinger, 18-year-old curator of the Harry T. Moore exhibit, said, “I wanted to do something to honor Harry T. Moore in Tallahassee. “Now, people in the community can come here and learn about his exciting life.” Hollinger said he noticed a small display in honor of Moore in Florida A&M’s Black Archives, but he wanted to bring something bigger to the city.

Hollinger came up with the idea to host the exhibit for Moore in the Taylor House Museum. Hollinger said he picked the date (Dec. 25, 2011) to mark the 60th anniversary of Moore’s death.

Moore died when a bomb planted by members of the Ku Klux Klan exploded under his home in Mims, Fla. Moore’s wife,

Harriette V. Moore, died nine days later in the hospital. “(Moore) dove into a dangerous area in the 1940s investigating police brutality. He single-handedly investigated every single lynching in the state of Florida,” said Hollinger, “Moore even took affidavits from each member of the victim’s family.”

No convictions were ever made for the bombing. Curtis Taylor, the director of the Taylor House Museum, said, “I’m extremely proud of the exhibit. I’m trying to get the Florida Legislative Black Caucus to pass a bill honoring Mr. Moore.”

Taylor is working with Florida Rep. Dwayne L. Taylor to have state Route 46 renamed to The Harry T. and Harriette V.

Moore Memorial Highway. State Route 46 runs though Mims, Fla. where Moore and his wife lived.

“Exhibits like this are very important,” said Ellie Gibson, a third-year nursing student. “In school, kids learn about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Sometimes local heroes like Harry T. Moore can be overlooked.”

The Taylor House Museum is Florida’s first and only civil rights museum. The museum is located at 442 W. Georgia St., and open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Harry T. Moore exhibit will be closing its doors Feb. 7. For more information about this exhibit visit http://www.wix.com/taylorhousemuseum/tul.