Episode 35: Harry Tyson Moore

The journey to freedom has led to countless Black Americans sacrificing for the cause of civil rights with many sacrificing their lives for the movement…including Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evers. But years before those brave men were murdered, a Florida teacher and his wife became the first martyrs of the civil rights movement. This is the mystery of the murder of Harry T Moore.

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Episode Sources and Resources – learn more about Harry T Moore and Harriette V. Moore and the Groveland Four Case

Read Freedom Never Dies: The Legacy of Harry T. Moore Documentary aired on PBS stations  Friday, January 12, 2001

TIMELINE: Legacy of Civil Rights Pioneers, Harry T and Harriette V Moore 
Florida Today

Death Found Suspects Before Justice Could
By James C. Clark Of The Orlando Sentinel 

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At Christmas, Evangeline Moore thinks of her martyred parents and demands justice
By Avis Thomas-Lester

Evangeline Moore, daughter of slain civil rights workers, dies at 85
By Matt Schudel

Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park
Located on the homesite of Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore, the park is home to the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Center.

The park includes a replica of the home of the Moores (pictured) and a museum.

LISTEN
Sweet Honey in the Rock put Langston Hughes “Ballad of Harry Moore” to song. Listen to the song

BALLAD OF HARRY MOORE
Killed at Mims, Florida, on Christmas night, 1951
By Langston Hughes

Florida means land of flowers.
It was on Christmas night
In the state named for the flowers
Men came bearing dynamite.

Men came stealing through the orange groves
Bearing hate instead of love,
While the Star of Bethlehem
Was in the sky above.

Oh, memories of a Christmas evening
When Wise Men traveled from afar
Seeking out a lowly manger
Guided by a Holy Star!

Oh, memories of a Christmas evenin
When to Bethlehem there came
“Peace on earth, good will to men”–
Jesus was His name.

But they must’ve forgotten Jesus
Down in Florida that night
Stealing through the orange groves
Bearing hate and dynamite.

It was a little cottage,
A family, name of Moore.
In the windows wreaths of holly,
And a pine wreath on the door.

Christmas, 1951,

The family prayers were said
When father, mother, daughter,
And grandmother went to bed.

The father’s name was Harry Moore.
The N.A.A.C.P.

Told him to carry out its work
That Negroes might be free.

So it was that Harry Moore
(So deeply did he care)

Sought the right for men to live
With their heads up everywhere.

Because of that, white killers,
Who like Negroes “in their place,”

Came stealing through the orange groves
On that night of dark disgrace.

It could not be in Jesus’ name,
Beneath the bedroom floor,

On Christmas night the killers
Hid the bomb for Harry Moore.

It could not be in Jesus’ name
The killers took his life,
Blew his home to pieces
And killed his faithful wife.

It could not be for the sake of love
They did this awful thing–
For when the bomb exploded
No hearts were heard to sing.

And certainly no angels cried,
“Peace on earth, good will to men”–
But around the world an echo hurled
A question: When?…When?….When?

When will men for sake of peace
And for democracy
Learn no bombs a man can make
Keep men from being free?

It seems that I hear Harry Moore.
From the earth his voice cries,
No bomb can kill the dreams I hold–
For freedom never dies!

I will not stop! I will not stop–
For freedom never dies!
I will not stop! I will not stop!
Freedom never dies!

So should you see our Harry Moore
Walking on a Christmas night,
Don’t run and hide, you killers,
He has no dynamite.

In his heart is only love
For all the human race,
And all he wants is for every man
To have his rightful place.

And this he says, our Harry Moore,
As from the grave he cries:
No bomb can kill the dreams I hold
For freedom never dies!

Freedom never dies, I say!
Freedom never dies!

WATCH: The Florida Historical Society produced this look at the life Harry and Harriette Moore.

Groveland Four
In April of 2017, the state of Florida formally apologized to the men wrongly accused of rape in 1949

WATCH: Florida State Senators, State Representatives, Gilbert King (Author of Devil in the Grove), authors, and family members of the Groveland Four speak about this dark chapter in Florida’s history.

Read more about the Groveland Four in Gilbert King’s “Devil in the Grove”



Categories: civil rights, florida, history, legends, mysteries, podcastrecommendations, podcasts, true crime, truecrime

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