Decades of Change

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Interim President of Girard College, Mr. Clarence D. Armbrister, President of Cecil b. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters, Mr. Mel Dorn, and Superintendent of Philadelphia School District, Dr. William R. Hite Jr. at historic Girard College.

Students of Girard College Choir

Students of Girard College Choir

60’s…At the Walls in 1965

Girard College –  For seven months and seventeen days teen foot soldiers and young militant activists became known as “Cecil’s Army”, followers of the late, great prominent Philadelphia Attorney.  They inspired a movement singing from the heart with dedication, commitment and a comradrie spirit that ignited a fuse in North Philly in 1965.

The Young Militants non-violent tactics picketed and was handcuffed to the doorways of the U.S. Post Office. Fought for inclusion of blacks in management positions, organized a protest, with a blood bath ensuing at the construction site of Strawberry Mansion Jr. High school, called for change in the negative humiliating stereotyping by whites painting black faces in the city’s Mummers Day Parade, and have challenged Trailway and Greyhound Bus Companies policy against hiring black drivers, by using direct action protested by lying in front of buses.

70’s…Councilman, Statesman Cecil B. Moore

Cecil B. Moore served the city of Philadelphia from 1975 to his death in 1979.  He was a champion for the 5th district in the  North Philly neighborhood.  Mayor John Street, an attorney at law represented the Black Vendors Street Association with the support of the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters, another fight for representation in the streets of Philadelphia

 80’s…’A dream gone soar’

The Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters under the leadership of Mr. Mel Dorn’s Cecil B. Moore Community Foundation Inc. led the fight for the Yellow Cap Owners Association.

90’s…Street, subway stop name change and plaque and bust dedication

In an effort to maintain the legacy of the late great Cecil B. Moore’s name in Philadelphia, the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters, with the support of incumbent council candidate, Attorney John Street, and then Mayor, Wilson Goode finally got Septa’s approval to rename the street signs along Columbia Ave to become Cecil B. Moore Ave in 1990.  Five years later in 1995 after many years of persistence from the Cecil B. Moore Community Foundation Inc. Septa change the subway stop at Broad and Cecil B. Moore to Cecil B. Moore Temple University.  A plaque and bust dedication in the same year in collaboration with Mr. Liacouras of Temple University, Septa’s officials, and members of the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters (installation of the plaque is still awaiting).

2000’s…Documentaries, speaking engagements, return to Girard College and name change on Septa’s number 3 bus

The Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters, continue to make speeches and appearances at various Philadelphia schools and community programs, libraries, organizations; including Girard College since the appointment of the first black female principal of Girard College has taken office.

They have documented their stories with the Blockson Library, Urban Archives, UROC of Philadelphia, WHYY (Cecil B. Moore: A leader in the battle for civil rights), Jubilee School and WYBE (At the Wall).

Septa changed the name on the number 3 bus to C.B. Moore a move which shook up the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters to continue to uphold the known name and legacy of their leader, Cecil B. Moore on the bus signs on Cecil B. Moore Ave.

Today, in 2012…we have plans to include; 1. A re-dedication of a plaque and a showcase at Cecil B. Moore & Broad Street.  2. For a city Citation from city council and public recognition of the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighter.  3. For a proclamation of May 1, 2013 to be Cecil B. Moore Day in the city of Philadelphia.

Web content, articles and photos by Miranda Alexander

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