National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Archival Collection

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAAHC.A2018.12
Creators:
Moore, Harry T., 1905-1951
Moore, Harriette V., 1902-1952
Dates:
bulk 1945-1949
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
1 Cubic foot
Repository:
Harry T. Moore was a pioneering civil rights activist, educator, and civic leader. The collection was originally housed in a formerly "lost" briefcase that was found in 2006 by FBI investigators. The materials in this collection focus on his activities as a civil rights activist and community leader who sought to advocate for pay equity, voting rights, and justice reform for African American communities in Florida. Harry Moore and his wife Harriette were murdered for their work and they have been immortalized as the Civil Rights Movement's first martyrs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Archival Collection chronicles Harry Moore's career in civil rights and education that ultimately led to his and his wife's murder. The materials in this collection were originally located in Harry T. Moore's briefcase and are dated from 1942 to 1949. The collection contains correspondence, memoranda, business records, ephemera, and newspaper clippings. The bulk of the material reflects Moore's work as a community leader working with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Progressive Voters League (PVL). The materials include original typed correspondence to and from Harry T. Moore as well as mimeographed letters that were saved for recordkeeping purposes.
The briefcase and Moore's wallet (part of the NMAAHC Collection) were found by Harriette Moore's brother, George Simms, after the firebombing of the Moore's home on Christmas night in 1951. Both were given to the local authorities for the investigation. The briefcase was lost during the initial 1951-1952 investigations. It was found in 2006 by FBI Investigators in a barn close to the Moore's former home. The investigation was closed the same year and the briefcase and its contents were returned to the family. J. Evangeline Moore served as the steward of the collection, lending out materials to various organizations, journalists, writers, and filmmakers over the years to educate the masses about her father's work and her parents' legacy. This work continued until her death in 2015. This collection and related Moore family heirlooms were donated to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2013 and 2018, respectively.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This archival collection does not include all the materials originally located in the briefcase. Materials from this collection were used during investigations as well as historical displays, documentaries, and various educational presentations. Research revealed that various materials were misplaced or lost. The FBI investigators originally located the briefcase in 2006 and they organized and rehoused the materials for better preservation. According to the 2006 investigation report, the investigators organized the documents in alphabetical order but arranged them as they were discovered within Harry T. Moore's filing system. His filing system was based on keeping documents together in envelopes that pertain to the same subject.
The NMAAHC Archives Team kept the subject and proximal context of the materials together. To further preserve this original arrangement and sustain the collection, materials were separated by format and then by subject, keeping those with similar dates and subjects together.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Harry Tyson Moore was born on November 18, 1905 to Stephen John "Johnny" Moore and Rosalea "Rosa" Tyson Moore in Houston, Florida. After his father's death in 1914, Moore was sent to live with his maternal aunts in Daytona Beach, Florida. He attended Florida Normal and Industrial Memorial Institute, at the time a high school and junior college, where he graduated with a teaching degree in 1924. He immediately began his first teaching position at the segregated Monroe Elementary School in Cocoa, Florida.
Harriette Vyda Sims was born on June 19, 1902 in West Palm Beach, Florida to David and Annie Simms. Harriette was an insurance agent at Atlanta Life Insurance Company, a prominent Black-owned company, working out of Cocoa, Florida when she met Harry. Harry was also working at Atlanta Life to supplement his meager salary from teaching. Harry and Harriette married on Christmas Day in 1926. To establish themselves, the newlyweds moved in with Harriette's family in Mims, Florida. They had two daughters, Annie, born 1928, and Juanita (Evangeline), born 1930.
The couple enrolled together at the Daytona Normal Industrial Institute, later renamed the Bethune-Cookman College (BCC) after a merger of local African American schools. Harriette earned associate and bachelor's degrees in education in 1941 and 1950 respectively. Harry earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1936. Both Evangeline and Annie attended BCC as well. Annie served as an assistant to Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.
From 1927-1936, Harry served as a teacher and eventual principal of Titusville Colored Junior High School. Harriette was a teacher and lunch lady at various elementary schools in the area. Troubled by the inequities and lack of educational resources available to African Americans, Harry started the Brevard County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1934. He established the organization with the help of the all-black Florida State Teacher's Association and the support of civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall.
In 1937, Moore was involved in a lawsuit regarding teacher pay equality. In Florida, White teachers received a monthly salary of $50 while African American teachers had a base salary of $20. This was the first civil rights case of its kind in the South. Moore's good friend John Gilbert, the principal of the junior high school, served as the plaintiff. The case, Gilbert v. Board of Public Instruction of Brevard County, was lost as many African American teachers were afraid to publicly endorse the case, fearing repercussions. This proved correct as Gilbert and Moore were both fired because of their activism. The Florida Supreme Court dismissed the petition stating that Brevard County was not legally required to change salary schedules based on pay because schools used individual contracts with the teachers. This case laid the foundation for several successful pay equality cases including McDaniel v. Board of Public Instruction in 1941 and County Teachers Association v. the Board of Public Instruction for the County of Marion and Broward in 1942.
Fighting for pay equity for teachers and educational civil rights took Harry and Harriette around the state, organizing and mobilizing community members. In 1936, the Moores took on new positions at the segregated Mims Elementary School and continued their involvement in organizing civil rights cases throughout Florida. In 1941, Harry was appointed the president of the Florida State Conference for the NAACP and later became the executive secretary for the Florida branch. In 1944, Smith v. Allwright ruled that it was unconstitutional for the Democratic Party to limit its membership to White people. This gave Harry the impetus to establish the Progressive Voters League (PVL), a partisan political action group in 1946. Harry believed that African Americans should have the power to vote for whomever is best for their community. Harry kept his work with the PVL separate from his work with the NAACP, despite his leadership role in both. Within a few years of PVL's establishment, there were 100,000 registered eligible African American voters in the state. For the first time in Florida's history, African American citizens were organized and poised to change the outcome of elections. In 1946, this work cost Harry and Harriette their positions at Mims Elementary School. Fortunately, the NAACP, grateful for all of Harry's years of voluntary service, named him the NAACP's first full-time paid executive secretary. Both daughters assisted in creating NAACP Youth Council for the chapter as well.
Harry fought against the gruesome lynching and rampant police brutality taking place in Florida. In 1937, he started investigating cases himself and took an active role in pursuing justice in several unsolved lynching cases around Florida. He regularly sent correspondence about voting rights and lynching to state legislators, the governor, congressmen and even the president. In 1949, Moore became very involved in the national case, State of Florida v. Samuel Shepherd, Walter L. Irvin, Charles Greenlee, and Ernest E. Thomas, commonly known as the Groveland Rape case. Four young African American men were accused of raping a white woman, Norma Padgett. The sheriff of the area, Willis V. McCall rallied a mob of 1,000 local men to locate the accused. Ernest Thomas was killed during pursuit after being shot 400 times by the mob. Shepherd, Irvin, and Greenlee were beaten and coerced into confessing to the crime, only Irvin refused. The trio were immediately convicted by an all-white jury. Shephard and Irvin were sentenced to death while Greenlee, a minor, was sentenced to life in prison. In 1951, Harry and the NAACP legal team appealed the case before the United States Supreme Court. The Court ruled the men were not given a fair trial and sent the case back for retrial at the lower court. In November of 1951, while transporting Shepherd and Irvin back to the county prison for the retrial, Sheriff McCall shot the handcuffed men, killing Shepherd and seriously injuring Irvin. Moore launched an aggressive campaign to have McCall removed from his position and indicted for his involvement in the deaths. He wrote letters to President Truman, the governor, congressmen and several state and county legislators about McCall and the case. Many historians believe Moore's involvement in this case led to his murder only six weeks later. In 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued the Groveland Four a posthumous pardon.
On December 25, 1951, both Christmas and the Moore's 25th wedding anniversary, a bomb exploded under their home, directly below the Moore's bedroom. Harry died on the way to the hospital. His funeral took place on January 2, 1952 to a crowd of 3,500, according to Ebony magazine. The following day, January 3, Harriette died from the injuries she sustained in the bombing. Her funeral took place on January 8, where NAACP leader Roy Wilkins spoke eloquently about the Moores and how their work will not be forgotten. The Moores are often called the first martyrs of the 1950s Civil Rights Movement.
The world quickly took note of Harry and Harriet's murders. Newspapers around the world criticized the U.S. for its treatment of African American citizens. The murders were discussed on the floor of the United Nations and the halls of Congress. There were many investigations at the time of the bombing, but the perpetrators were not found. The case was reopened in 1978, but again no charges were filed. In 2004-2006, the investigation was again reopened and led to the conclusion that the murders were conducted by the Central Florida Klu Klux Klan. The men believed responsible were Earl J. Brooklyn, Tillman H. Belvin, Joseph N. Cox, and Edward L. Spivey. However, all the men had died by this time, therefore no one was ever charged for the Moores' murder.
Evangeline was extremely involved in the investigation and worked directly with the attorney general. By the mid-1990s, Evangeline began to take a public role in preserving the memory of her family's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. In 1995, she helped organize the Harry T. Moore and Harriette V. Moore Homesite Development Committee, a non-profit organization that raised money for an educational site dedicated to celebrating the life and work of the Moores. In 2004, Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park opened, featuring a museum, the original Moore homesite, and a 12-acre park. There are annual celebrations held in the second week of December in Mims, honoring the Moore family's sacrifices for human rights. In 2015, the Florida State Senate adopted resolution SR1638, "Remembering the outstanding contributions of pioneer leaders and martyrs Harriette Vyda Simms Moore and Harry T. Moore in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, etc." In October 2015, Evangeline passed away in New Carrolton, Maryland.
Historical Timeline
1902
Harriette V. Simms was born in West Palm Beach, Florida to David I. Simms and Annie Warren Simms.
1905
Harry Tyson Moore was born in Houston, Florida to Stephen John "Johnny" Moore and Rosa Tyson Moore.
1914-1916
Johnny Moore died. Rosa Moore sent Harry to Daytona Beach, Florida to stay with family because of financial difficulties. Harry and his maternal aunts moved to Jacksonville, Florida for better educational opportunities.
1919
Moore returned to Houston, Florida and began the high school program at Florida Normal and Industrial Memorial Institute. He graduated with a teaching degree in 1924.
1925
Harry earned his teaching certificate and immediately began teaching position at the segregated Monroe Elementary School in Cocoa, Florida.
1926
Harry and Harriette wed on Christmas.
1927
The Moore newlyweds moved in with Harriette's parents. Harry began teaching at the Titusville Colored Junior High School in Titusville, Florida.
1928
Annie Rosa Moore was born. In the fall, Harriette began working as a teacher at Mims Colored Elementary School in Mims, Florida.
1930
[Juanita] Evangeline Moore was born. Harry began taking correspondence courses at the University of Florida.
1931
Harry and his family move into their own home in Mims, Florida.
1934
Harry founded the Brevard County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
1936
Harry graduated from Bethune-Cookman College (BCC) with a normal degree in education. In the fall, Harry became a teacher and the principal of Mims Colored Elementary School.
1938
In March, Attorney S.D. McGill filed a lawsuit for pay equality with Cocoa Junior School principal John Gilbert as the plaintiff. The case was dismissed in June.
1939
The appeal case of Gilbert v. Board of Public Instruction of Brevard County was dismissed. The case was represented by NAACP Legal Counsel, Thurgood Marshall.
1941
Harry organized and served as president of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP. Harriette graduated from Bethune-Cookman College with a teaching degree.
1944
Harry founded the Progressive Voters League as a political partisan action group in opposition to the NAACP non-partisan stance.
1946
As a result of his civil rights work and activism, Harry and Harriette lost their teaching positions at Mims Elementary School.
1947
Evangeline enrolled in BCC. Harry became the NAACP's first fully paid executive secretary of the Brevard County chapter.
1948
Harriette began teaching at the Lake Park Colored School in Palm Beach County, Florida.
1950
Harriette graduated from BCC with a B.S. in science.
1951
Harry graduated with a B.A. from BCC in August.
December 25: The Moore's home is firebombed. Harry passed away right before midnight.
1952
January 1: Funeral of Harry T. Moore.
Jannuary 3: Harriette died from injuries sustained in bombing.
January 8: Funeral of Harriette V. Moore.
The NAACP awarded the Spingarn medal to Harry T. Moore; his mother Rosa accepted it on his behalf. Evangeline married Drapher Pagan, Sr. Drapher "Skip" Pagan, Jr. is born the following year.
1955
The FBI officially closed the Moore homicide investigation case.
1972
Annie R. Moore Hampton died suddenly and was buried in Ocala, Florida.
1978
The Moore case was reopened but no charges were filed.
1985
Creation of the Harry T. Moore Social Service Center in Titusville, Florida.
1991
Florida's Governor Lawton Chiles ordered the reopening of the Moores' homicide case; no charges were filed.
1993-1998
The Brevard County Board of County Commissioners purchased the Moore homesite to be used as a memorial to the slain couple and created The Harry T. Moore Homesite Development Committee. The Florida State Legislature awarded $700,000 for development of the 10-acre Harry T. Moore Memorial Homesite in Mims, Florida.
1999
Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Homesite Historical Marker is unveiled.
2002
Brevard County Court Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Justice Center opened.
2003-2004
An archeological survey of Moore family home led to an investigation. The Florida State Attorney General Charlie Crist reopened the Moore homicide investigation. The Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Cultural Complex is completed.
2006
Attorney General Crist concluded that the perpetrators were four men from the Central Florida Klu Klux Klan. They had all died by this time, so no charges were filed.
2012-2013
The post office in Cocoa, Florida was renamed was named in honor of Harry T. and Harriette Moore by an Act of Congress: Public Law 112-243. Harry and Harriette were inducted in the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
2015
Evangeline Moore died in New Carrolton, Maryland.
2019
The Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park and Museum was added to U.S. Civil Rights Trail.
2021
Brevard County School Board passed a resolution acknowledging the Moore's unjust firings.

Administration
Author
Ja-Zette Marshburn and Alana Donocoff
Processing Information
The collection was processed, arranged, and described by Ja-Zette Marshburn and Alana Donocoff from 2019 to 2022.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Acquired as a gift from Drapher "Skip" Pagan, Jr. in memory of Juanita Evangeline Moore.
The Museum acquired two personal watches, a locket, and 26 textual documents pertaining to Harry and Harriette Moore (2013.157) from Juanita Evangeline Moore in 2013. These materials are viewable via Smithsonian Collections Search. The Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Archival Collection was acquired through a donation from the Moores' grandson, Drapher "Skip" Pagan, Jr. in 2018.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Harry T. And Harriette V. Moore Archival Collection, 1942-1949. National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
The NMAAHC Archives can provide reproductions of some materials for research and educational use. Copyright and right to publicity restrictions apply and limit reproduction for other purposes.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making reproductions of copyrighted material. Any reproductions of these materials are not to be used for any purpose other than research or educational use.

More Information
Bibliography
Bibliography
"Biographical sketch of Harry Moore." PBS. (Accessed May 2019). http://www.pbs.org/harrymoore/harry/mbio.html.
Clark, James C. "Civil Rights Leader Harry T. Moore and the Ku Klux Klan in Florida." The Florida Historical Quarterly. Vol. 73, No. 2 (Oct. 1994), pp. 166-183. (accessed May 2021). https://www.jstor.org/stable/30148758.
Crist, Charlie. "Crist Announces Results of Harry T. Moore Murder Investigation." August 16, 2006. (accessed May 2019). https://web.archive.org/web/20070106234735/http:/myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/C4F9E89A26C88DEB852571CC00694A6E.
Green, Ben. (1999). Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America's First Civil Rights Martyr. Free Press: New York.
George, Alice. "This Locket Memorializes a Black Activist Couple Murdered in a Christmas 1951 Bombing." Smithsonian Magazine. December 20, 2021. (accessed December 2021). https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/this-locket-memorializes-a-black-activist-couple-murdered-in-a-christmas-1951-bombing-180979229/.
"NAACP History: Harry T. and Harriette Moore." NAACP. (accessed May 2021). https://www.naacp.org/naacp-history-harry-t-and-harriette-moore/.
North, Joseph. (1952). Behind the Florida Bombings: Who Killed NAACP Leader Harry T. Moore and his Wife. New Century Publishers: New York, NY.
Poore, Caroline Emmons. (1992). Striking the First Blow: Harry T. Moore and the Fight for Black Equality in Florida. Florida State University.
Powers, Ormond. "Book Revives Debates about Fatal Christmas 1951 Bombing." Orlando Sentinel. May 19, 1999. (accessed May 2019). https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1999-05-19-9905180799-story.html.
"Over 1,500 Attend Funeral Services of Harry T. Moore." Atlanta Daily World. January 1952. (accessed May 2019). https://search.proquest.com/docview/490965897/pageviewPDF/7F3B4980B9E44AD2PQ/1?accountid=46638.
"The Life of Harriette Vyda (Simms) Moore." The Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Complex, Inc. (accessed May 2019). http://www.nbbd.com/godo/moore/bioHarriette.html.
"The Life of Harry Tyson Moore." The Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Complex, Inc. (accessed May 2019). http://www.nbbd.com/godo/moore/bioHarry.html.
Schudel, Matt. "Evangeline Moore, daughter of slain civil rights workers, dies at 85." The Washington Post. October 28, 2015. (accessed May 2021). https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/evangeline-moore-daughter-of-slain-civil-rights-workers-dies-at-85/2015/10/28/621966bc-7d8e-11e5-beba-927fd8634498_story.html.
Whorley, Tywanna. "Harry Tyson Moore: A Soldier for Freedom." The Journal of Negro History. 79, no. 2 (1994): 197-211. (accessed May 2021). https://www.jstor.org/stable/2717629.


Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Education Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Civil rights Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Activism Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hate crimes Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Race discrimination Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Resistance Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Segregation Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Groveland Four Trial, Groveland, Fla., 1949-1952 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American South Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blacks -- Press coverage Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Justice Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Race relations Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Social justice Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lynching Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Violence Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States of America -- Florida -- Brevard County -- Cocoa Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States of America -- Florida -- Lake County -- Groveland Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States of America -- Florida -- Brevard County -- Mims Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States of America -- Florida -- Brevard County Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States of America -- Florida -- Brevard County -- Titusville Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States of America -- Florida -- Seminole County -- Sanford Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States -- History -- 1945-1953 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Suffrage Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Politics Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Families Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Law Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Associations, institutions, etc. Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baker, Ella, 1903-1986 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bethune, Mary McLeod, 1875-1955 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Caldwell, Millard Fillmore, 1897-1984 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Current, Gloster B. (Gloster Bryant), 1913-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gilbert, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hendricks, Joseph Edward, 1903- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Holland, Spessard L. (Spessard Lindsey), 1892-1971 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Houston, Charles Hamilton, Dr., 1895-1950 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Humphrey, Hubert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kennedy, Stetson Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moore, J. Evangeline, 1930-2015 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mathews, John E., 1892 - 1955 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Warren, Fuller, 1905-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Watson, J. Thomas, 1885 - 1954 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
White, Walter Francis, 1893-1955 (President, N.A.A.C.P) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Williams, Franklin Hall, 1917 - 1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bethune-Cookman College (Daytona Beach, Fla.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Florida Normal and Industrial Memorial College (Saint Augustine, Fla.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pittsburgh Courier (newspaper) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Progressive Voters League Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Washington, D.C. 20004
NMAAHC-Archives@si.edu