Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Honoring Harry and Harriette Moore in U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall (and Removing Statue of Controversial Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith)

On December 25, 1951, nearly 54 years ago, KKK murdered two NAACP organizers, Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Harriette Moore on Christmas Day (her birthday) by bomb under their bedroom in Mims, Florida. The Moores worked for equal pay for African-American teachers, registered 100,000 African-Americans to vote, and exposed Sheriff-involved murders of African-Amercans. From 1943 until his death, Harry Moore investigated every single lynching in the State of Florida. The Moores are profiled in a PBS documentary, "Freedom Never Dies."

My mentor Stetson Kennedy's last wish -- expressed to his wife, Sandra Parks -- was that Stetson's friends, the Moores, be remembered and honored.

Here's what we need to do: Our State of Florida Legislature urgently needs to put a statue of Harry and Harriette Moore in the Capitol's Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C., withdrawing the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, who murdered black Union Army prisoners of war during the Civil War. Each state gets two statues: none are of African-Americans (although Rosa Parks is represented by joint Congressional resolution). Four states changed their statues (California, Kansas, Michigan and Arizona added statues of Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Barry Goldwater).

The Joint Committee on the Library of Congress has jurisdiction and its procedures are here: We'd need a waiver for two people on one statue (North Dakota already has Sakajawa with her baby on her back).

Thus, America would honor the Moores, who were indefatigable in defense of Florida civil rights. Cost of removing and relocating the General Edmund Kirby Smith statue and replacing it with a suitable statue of Harry and Harriette T. Moore could exceed $100,000. That's "an easy burden." It will promote healing. It's up to us.

Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

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