William L. Moore


William L. Moore

William Lewis Moore (April 28, 1927April 23, 1963) was a postal worker and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) member who staged lone protests against racial segregation. He was murdered on his final protest.

He was born in Binghamton, New York and lived in Baltimore, Maryland.

All three of his protests consisted of walking to a capital and hand-delivering letters he had written denouncing racial segregation.

On his first march he walked to Annapolis, Maryland, the state capital. On his second march he walked to the White House. He arrived at about the same time that Martin Luther King, Jr. was being released from Birmingham jail. His letter to John F. Kennedy notified the president that he intended to walk to Mississippi and asked "If I may deliver any letters from you to those on my line of travel, I would be most happy to do so."

For his third protest he planned to walk from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi and deliver a letter to Governor Ross Barnett urging him to accept integration. He was wearing two signboards: "END SEGREGATION IN AMERICA" and "EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL MEN".

On April 23 1963, about 70 miles into his march, Moore was interviewed by Charlie Hicks, a reporter from radio station WGAD in Gadsden, Alabama, along a rural stretch of U.S. Highway 11 near Attalla, Alabama. The station had received an anonymous phone tip about Moore's location. In the interview Moore stated "I intend to walk right up to the governor's mansion in Mississippi and ring his door bell. Then I'll hand him my letter." Concerned for Moore's safety, Hicks offered to drive him to a motel. Moore insisted on continuing his march.

Less than an hour after the reporter left the scene a passing motorist found Moore's body about a mile farther down the road, shot twice in the head at close range with a .22 caliber rifle. The gun's ownership was traced to Floyd Simpson, whom Moore had argued with earlier that day, but no charges against him were ever laid.

Moore's letter was found and opened. In it Moore reasoned that "the white man cannot be truly free himself until all men have their rights." He asked Governor Barnett to "Be gracious and give more than is immediately demanded of you...."

Folk singer Phil Ochs wrote a song in tribute to William Moore that appears on the album "A Toast to Those Who Are Gone" ( [http://www.cs.pdx.edu/~trent/ochs/lyrics/william-moore.html] ). Another tribute song (in German) for William Moore was written by socialist German singer/songwriter Wolf Biermann.

Starting April 23, 2008, Ellen Johnson and Ken Loukinen [http://www.freethoughtflorida.com ] walked the 320 miles from Reese City, Alabama and delivered Bill Moore's original letter to Jackson, Miss. and Dr. Bob Zellner (one of the original Freedom walkers in 1963) attempted to present the letter to the current governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour on May 6, 2008, but the Governor would not meet with them to accept the letter.

ee also

* American Civil Rights Movement
* Congress of Racial Equality

References

* Charles D. lowery and John F. Marszalek (editors), "Encyclopedia of African-American Civil Rights", pp. 365-366
* Taylor Branch, "Parting The Waters", p. 748.
* Mary Stanton, "Freedom Walk: Mississippi Or Bust", University Press of Mississippi, 2003
* [http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20080424/NEWS/837335816/1017/NEWS Activists take walk to remember, Gadsden Times, April 24, 2008]
* [http://www.alabamaatheist.org/fw2k8/ Freedom Walk 2008]


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