BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – If you live in Brevard County, the names Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore probably sound familiar to you.
Their work in the civil rights movement forever changed local communities and the state.
In 1925, Harry established the Brevard County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and became its president.
The couple spoke out on a number of issues—the Brevard County School Board spending less on Black students, Florida having the highest rate of lynchings in the South and getting more than 116,000 Black Americans registered to vote.
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Harry and Harriette spent their lives working to make a difference.
Then, on Christmas night in 1951, a bomb exploded under their home in Mims. It was their 25th wedding anniversary. Both died from the blast—they’re the only husband and wife to be killed in the civil rights movement.
The FBI investigated their murder, but never prosecuted the case.
In 2005 and 2006, a state investigation named the likely perpetrators as four Ku Klux Klan members, all dead by that time.
Since their deaths, a number of things have happened to help carry on their legacy and important work.
In 2004, the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Complex opened on the original family home site.
The facility houses a museum, a replica of their house, a conference center and a small reference library. It also serves as a polling site and visitors can check out the voter registration book that shows signatures they gathered.
In 2012, Florida lawmakers passed a bill dedicating Highway 46 as the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Highway.
Then in 2013, the Cocoa Village Post Office was renamed the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Post Office, followed by the courthouse, also named after the couple.
“It’s a historical irony, but fitting that a building where justice is meted out day in and day out in Brevard County is named in honor of a Black civil rights activist couple who were denied justice,” said Sonya Mallard, the cultural center coordinator.
“As you drive down Stadium Parkway toward the Brevard County government complex in Viera, you come upon the county courthouse named after Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore, America’s first civil rights martyrs who were killed by white terrorists in 1951,” she added.
Mallard said this allows the community to see their legacy daily.
You can also find Moore family artifacts in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Today, educators are required to teach students about Harry and Harriette in fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth grades. It was all part of a effort from the Moore Cultural Complex Board in collaboration with the Brevard Federation of Teachers.
They presented a resolution to the Brevard County School Board to publicly recognize the unfair termination of the Moores’ teaching contracts, give an annual field trip to the Moore Memorial Park and museum for all Brevard Public Schools eighth graders and reinstate the Moores as teachers emeritus.
The school board approved the resolution in 2021.
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