No report on Brevard’s Black History would be complete without a tribute to Harry and Harriette Moore, civil rights activists who were murdered via a bomb at their Mims home on Christmas night in 1951.
Prior to this, the Moores were teachers at the county’s only all black school in Titusville and paved the way for many black residents to vote, registering 116,000 to the Florida Democratic Party over six years, a number that was 51% higher than any other southern state.
Decades before Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King would be recognized for their civil rights activism, Harry and Harriette were fighting for equality.
In 1934, Moore started the Brevard County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
In 1937, along with late Supreme Court Justice Thourgood Marshall and the all-black Florida Teachers Association, Moore filed the first lawsuit in the Deep South to equalize black and white teacher salaries. The case was not successful but spurred dozens of others that eventually led to the move.
Moore’s activism eventually got him fired from the principal’s position at the school where he began his teaching career, leading him to a career as an organizer for the Florida NAACP, helping grow the membership to 10,000 members in 63 branches across the state.
A recent story in Florida Today highlighted the sad reality that the legacy of Harry and Harriette Moore — often referred to as the “first martyrs” of the modern civil rights movement — is widely un- known to many who call the Space Coast home.”
That may change soon if a movement to incorporate teaching about the Moores into school curriculum is adopted by the school board.
The proposal includes a provision requesting that all public fourth grade students on the Space Coast attend a field trip to the Moore Cultural Complex where they can learn more about the numerous contributions and sacrifices made by the couple. A replica home sits on the site, outfitted to look exactly like the homes the Moore’s shared with their daughters, Evangeline, who passed in 2015, and Rosalea “Peaches,” who passed in 1972.