A Civil Rights Activist’s 61-12 months Journey – NBC10 Philadelphia

For the entire month of February, NBC will feature essays on black Americans who pioneered United States history during the civil rights movement that led to statewide desegregation. The pioneers include those who led local school desegregation efforts, professionals who have become shining lights in their industries, and proponents who directly fueled the wave of change in the nation’s quest for racial justice and equality .

Reverend William B. Moore

We sat down at the lunch counter and said: “We want to order a burger, fries and a cola.” [the staff] said: “We do not serve colored people here.” We didn’t get up. We didn’t go.

Rev. William Moore

For Rev. William B. Moore, memories of racism are still fresh. Most prominent in his memory, however, is how and why he responded with civil disobedience. “Sitting in” was not a concept that Moore conceived. Instead, it was a direct reflection of the lessons he had learned from his parents and as a student at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina in the early 1960s.

Going to college was one of the few options Moore’s parents had described. “You either did one of three things: you went to college, you went to work, or you went into the military … [there was] a sense of expectation and hope, “said Moore. An anxious outlook or a feeling of inferiority was undesirable in the home, despite the spread of Jim Crow’s policy in almost every other aspect of his life.

“When whites finish their books, we have them. When they finish the projectors we have them. When they finish the buses we have them.” Rev. William Moore talks about living in a segregated society as a young college student in North Carolina and how it fueled his lifelong activism.

Separation of transportation, schools, and restaurants was commonplace, but that didn’t stop Moore’s family and church elders from giving him a sense of pride and courage. They affirmed a guiding principle: “Your failure should not be your failure to try.” Her determination in the face of ubiquitous discrimination was a powerful example for Moore and an early awareness that his existing status must not be his ultimate destiny.

As a freshman, Moore was fascinated by after-school events at colleges in nearby Greensboro, North Carolina. He recalled, “I read what was going on. … The conditions we faced in Fayetteville were no different from those in Greensboro … students [there] came together and decided to march [sit in] and to demonstrate peacefully. “Watching an effective student movement less than 100 miles away, Moore decided to act. He gathered a group of black classmates united by shared experiences at Jim Crow South.

Your main goal: to signal dissatisfaction with the status quo. Their method: extending the sit-in movement to Fayetteville.

A 20-year-old Moore, top center, poses with colleagues on the Fayetteville meeting planning committee.

A 20-year-old Moore, top center, poses with colleagues on the Fayetteville meeting planning committee.

They got to work right away, marching from campus to local restaurants every day. Moore sat at “only white” lunch tables and never got his order for burgers and fries. Instead, he and his classmates were mocked, mocked and repeatedly asked to leave immediately.

Moore stated that even as students, you weren’t forced to leave. They endured the abuse and sat until they “made a point”.

Moore himself never experienced physical violence in his sit-ins, but his persistence angered many business owners enough to close prematurely – resulting in a loss of income and a “win” for Moore and his team. “Even if the change wasn’t quick,” thought Moore.[we] were very resilient, very persistent. “

The seated protests continued to spread in the south. More than 70,000 black students mobilized and dispersed from their campus to peacefully protest the discrimination they faced at every turn. Freedom trips swept public buses, “wade-ins” flooded separate swimming pools and “pray-ins” filled the pews of “all-white” churches. Even presidential candidate John F. Kennedy was forced to respond to illustrate the newfound impact that empowered black students had on the national civil rights talks. Moore quickly recognized the value of civil disobedience as a force to correct injustice – a lesson he learned and taught as an ordained minister in adulthood.

Rev. Willam Moore shares his experiences as a young activist during the civil rights movement and how he and his fellow protesters used civil disobedience to achieve their own personal victories.

For more than four decades, Rev. Moore has worked tirelessly as pastor of the Tenth Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia to build a new coalition: a community bound by common faith, a dedication to collective progress, and neighborhood pride. In particular, promoting its younger parishioners is a priority.

Channeling memories of the persistently high expectations of his own family, Moore understands firsthand how the educational environment invites young people to be attentive, ask tough questions, and pursue activities and career paths that help make the world a better place. To this end, Moore’s community invests in their children at a young age: “We’re opening … a contact-free savings account that is specially reserved for their education. As they climb the ladder, we invest more and more.”

The initiative makes a difference and brings the youth of Tenth Memorial into institutions like Brown, Harvard and Temple. And they don’t go forever; Moore is pleased that many are “coming back and using their talents in the Church”.

For returning graduates – and all aspiring youngsters alike – he encourages them to nurture their ambition and idealism into adulthood. It is Moore’s way of passing the baton on to the next generation, reminding them that change can begin with an individual’s actions.

“If there is any public action that you can believe in and want to do, do it,” said Moore. “Democracy is chaotic, and it can be chaotic to move people from hatred to love. But you have to stay vigilant.” And when you are vigilant, higher ideals bring people together [around] shared ideas to bring about change. “

“Democracy is chaotic and it can also be chaotic to move people from hatred to love. But you have to stay vigilant. And when you are vigilant, higher ideals bring people together [around] shared ideas to bring about change. “

Rev. William Moore

Rev. William Moore talks about steering his career as a headmaster in a white ward.

Comcast NBCUniversal’s Voices of the Civil Rights Movement platform honors the legacy and impact of American civil rights activists. See 17+ hours of reports and historical moments firsthand online and on Xfinity On Demand.

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