On Feb. 15, amid Black History Month, staff members at the Mural Arts Philadelphia arrived at the former home of Cecil B. Moore on Bouvier Street near Jefferson, to find it defaced with a racial slur written across the side of the building, The Temple News reported.
The house is a testament to the legacy of Moore, a historic civil rights leader and former city councilman, and contributions to African Americans in Philadelphia.
Even after cleaning the graffiti, the slur is still partially visible — a reminder of this racist act against the history of Black Philadelphia citizens.
“I’m at a loss for words, but the fact that we have to suffer these dishonorable insults to our historical figure, this man fought for the rights of all Americans,” said Karen Asper Jordan, president of the Cecil B. Moore Freedom Fighters, an activist group that protested with Moore in the 1960s.
The Editorial Board is deeply saddened by this event, and we want to use this platform to express our solidarity with all that have been affected by this racist defacement of a civil rights hero.
The Editorial Board would also like to use this opportunity to educate our students on the life and legacy of Moore, an individual whose name marks one of the primary streets and subway stations near campus.
Moore was a Philadelphia civil rights leader, defense lawyer and 1953 law alumnus of Temple University, according to the Temple University Libraries. He established himself as someone who represented working-class interests.
Moore encouraged everyone to vote and held voter registration drives to facilitate political participation, according to Temple Libraries. He was elected president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP in 1963, and although he was eventually suspended from the office in 1967 due to conflict with other NAACP leaders, he never lost his support within the local Black community.
Moore’s contributions to civil rights in Philadelphia include gaining Black admittance to labor unions, achieving public school integration, fighting bias in workplaces, like the post offices, and leading a seven-month-long demonstration to achieve desegregation at Girard College.
Moore’s legacy and impact on civil rights in Philadelphia is dedication, valor and humanitarianism, and his contributions are still felt today.
As a newsroom representing a variety of different racial backgrounds, we appreciate every sacrifice Moore made during his time in Philadelphia, and we are horrified by the thought of someone defacing his legacy with a racial slur.
We ask our readers to consider and understand the history of our neighborhood. Black civil rights activists, like Moore, spent decades working to create the community we live in today, and acts of racism are deeply troubling, offensive and disrespectful to the residents who have lived their entire lives here.
It is a privilege for us to live in a neighborhood with a history as rich as this one. Acts of pure racism and insensitivity don’t just deface that history, they insult it, and we cannot allow that to happen.