The life and legacy of Cecil B. Moore

6abc remembers the life and legacy of Philadelphia civil rights activist, lawyer, and former Marine Cecil B. Moore. Rick Williams sat down with Moore's daughter, Cecily Banks, and two members from the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters, Karen Asper-Jordan (President) and Vivienne Crawford (member).

Cecil B. Moore (1915-1979)

  • Cecil B. Moore was a Philadelphia lawyer and civil rights activist who led the fight to integrate Girard College in 1965. He also served as the president of the Philadelphia NAACP from 1963 to 1967. Moore was also a member of Philadelphia's City Council.
  • Born in West Virginia, Moore served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. In 1947, after his discharge at Fort Mifflin, Moore moved to Philadelphia and studied Law at Temple University.
  • Moore is best remembered for leading a picket against Girard College which led to the desegregation of that school.
  • Moore's aggressive manner and confrontational tactics alienated many leaders, black and white, including many within the NAACP who preferred negotiation "behind closed doors" over direct action. Moore himself acknowledged how his military service shaped his grassroots activism: I was determined when I got back (from World War II combat) that what rights I didn't have I was going to take, using every weapon in the arsenal of democracy. After nine years in the Marine Corps, I don't intend to take another order from any son of a bitch that walks. - Cecil B. Moore
  • Cecil B. Moore neighborhood in North Philly was named after him. It loosely extends from 6th street to the east, York Street to the north, 17th street to the west, and Girard Avenue to the south.
  • The neighborhood has been gentrified over the past couple of years due to the increase of students from Temple.
  • In 1975, Moore sought the Fifth District seat on the Philadelphia City Council, after incumbent Councilwoman Ethel D. Allen announced she would vacate the seat.
  • He died before the May Primary of his second term run against attorney John Street.