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Cocoa Post Office Renamed for Pioneering Civil Rights Couple


April 3, 2013 | WMFE- A US post office in Cocoa was renamed Wednesday to recognize a Brevard County couple who were trailblazers in the civil rights movement. The federal building at 600 Florida Avenue is now the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Post Office.

[Image: Harriette and Harry Moore, with daughters Juanita Evangeline and Annie Rosalea]

Brevard County Congressman Bill Posey sponsored legislation in the US House of Representatives to name the post office after the Moores. Posey says the Moore family eventually settled north of Cocoa in Mims, but that was not Harry Moore’s first local stop. 

“Cocoa is where he started teaching and working, and he has some history there, too,” says Posey. “Brevard is a long, narrow county – we have them recognized in north, central, and south Brevard County, by state, local, and federal governments.” 

When Posey was in the Florida Legislature, he secured state funding to develop their home site into a cultural center that bears their names. Additionally, the Brevard County Commission voted to designate the south Brevard courthouse the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Justice Center.

The couple's surviving daughter, Evangeline Moore, spoke at Wednesday’s dedication ceremony about some of her father's accomplishments.

“He started the first chapter of the NAACP in the state of Florida in Mims, Florida in 1934,” she said. Evangeline Moore, or "Van" as she was called at the time, was four years old.

The Moores, both educators, advocated statewide for equal pay for teachers regardless of race. They also fought discrimination against black voters and worked on a host of other civil rights issues.

The couple was killed on Christmas Eve in 1951 when a bomb exploded beneath their home. They had been celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Their daughter Evangeline Moore, then 21 years old, was away at college. Her older sister Annie was at home, but was uninjured in the blast.

After several unsuccessful attempts over the decades to identify the perpetrators, then-Governor Charlie Crist re-opened the bombing investigation in 2005. In 2006, Crist announced that a state task force had unearthed evidence implicating four Central Florida members of the Ku Klux Klan. They were all deceased by the time Crist's investigation began.

Speaking at the post office dedication Wednesday, Evangeline Moore thanked the community and Congressman Posey for honoring her parents and their important contributions to the civil rights movement.

"I'm just so glad that they're being recognized for the work that they did," she said after the ceremony. "If Dad had just lived a normal life and taught school, and let everything else go, he may have lived to be possibly 100 years old. But, he saw that black people were being discriminated against so badly, that he wanted to make things equal."

 

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