Media

WHYY Channel 12 News Release

Excerpt from ‘A leader in the battle for civil rights-Cecil B. Moore’

Documentary originally aired on February 25, 1987

Cecil B. Moore was one of the most prominent figures in the fight for racial equality in Philadelphia in the 1950’ and 1960’s.  He was a leader in the war against segregation, and a champion for black pride.  Although his actions brought major changes for blacks in Philadelphia, his confrontational style alienated some of the black and white middle and upper class community.

On Wednesday, February 25 at 10pm, WHYY TV 12 presents CECIL B. MOORE, a profile of the famous civil rights activist, produced by WHYY with Producer /Director, Louis Massiah and David Othmer, Executive Producer and others.

Some important people interviewed in the documentary are Moore’s 3 daughters; Gertrude Barnes, educator;  Philadelphia’s radio personality, Georgie Woods, civil rights activists Freedom George, Freedom Smitty, Karen Asper-Jordan Stanley Branch and Mel Dorn who recalled their involvement as teenagers in some of Moore’s most successful campaigns.

Incorporating the skills he learned as a Marine into the struggle for social equality, Moore created a grassroots movement in which thousands participated.  He also applied his disciplined training to his law practice, fighting vigorously for his clients, most of whom were poor and disenfranchised.

Under Moore’s years as president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, which he assumed in 1962, the city’s branch became the largest in the nation.  He changed the organization’s non-confrontational policy to one of direct involvement with the masses of black people struggling for civil rights.

Using a campaign of ‘direct action,’ he organized protests, picket lines and sit-ins.  He never seemed to be out of ideas or time.  According to friends, he could be found in his office meeting with clients until 10 or 11 o’clock at night.  Then after a work day, he’d meet there with other activists, sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning, yet still arriving immaculately dressed, though sometimes late at court later in the morning.

According to historian James Spady, the national newspapers at one time credited him with having the largest criminal law practice in the United States.  Moore went on to become one of this country’s most successful lawyers.  ‘He left a legacy of clarity and courage, and he had consistency – three qualities we find in all great leaders,’ said Judge Lisa Richette.

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