He had a passion that pushed him to go from town to town, braving threats while fighting against the scourge of lynching and for the right for blacks to register to vote.
Then, on Christmas night 1951, a bomb tore through Harry Tyson Moore’s home in the rural, out of the way community of Mims, killing the 46-year-old activist and his wife Harriette Moore, 49. The couple’s longstanding dream of freedom, muted for a moment by the smoke and shattered glass left behind by the terrorist bombing, however, remained alive for others to carry the mantle.
Saturday, dozens are expected to turn out to a quiet once segregated cemetery where the couple is interred, honoring the couple’s looming legacy as freedom fighters in the struggle for civil rights.
The event, which comes nearly seven months state lawmakers moved to declare Dec. 15 as ‘Harry Tyson Moore and Harriette Vyda Simms Moore Day,’ is open to the public.
“The Moores were the first husband and wife Civil Rights activist in (Florida) to fight for equal pay for school teachers,” said Sonya Mallard, community coordinator for the Moore Cultural Complex in Mims, where artifacts from the Moore family are entrusted.
“He was instrumental in starting the NAACP throughout the state of Florida, encouraged over 116,000 Blacks to Vote, as well as investigated the lynchings that were taking place in the state of Florida.”
Moore’s dream of equality would be addressed by Congress in 1964 with the milestone passage of the Civil Rights Act. The Act would outlaw Jim Crow laws that segregated blacks in Florida and across the nation. Voting rights were also fortified by the law, providing minorities with the opportunity to vote.
The gravesite program begins 2 p.m. Saturday and will take place at the LaGrange Cemetery, 1575 Old Dixie Highway in Titusville. Following the ceremony, another program will be held at the Harry T. Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park Museum, 2180 Freedom Ave. State Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Dist. 44, will speak. The site also holds a refurbishment of the home that the Moores lived in.
The couple and their fight for human rights have been the subject of documentaries and books. A state investigation into their assassinations concluded that their bombing deaths were likely the part of a conspiracy carried out by people with likes to the Ku Klux Klan.
“This is a historic day in Civil Rights history where we can right a wrong and ensure the world understands the sacrifice the Moores made in the state of Florida.,” Mallard said.