William Lewis Moore Marches for Equality

“A group of black students stood in line at a whites-only movie theater in Baltimore in 1963, waiting to buy tickets but expecting to go to jail. Sure enough, the police arrived and began arresting the students for trespassing.

In the midst of the black students, the police were astonished to see a white man, William Lewis Moore. A puzzled officer asked Moore if he understood that he was in line to be arrested. Moore explained that if the others couldn’t see the movie because of the color of their skin, then he didn’t want to see it either. He spent that night in jail.”

William Lewis Moore spent much of his adult life fighting for the rights of others. First for the mentally ill, after he himself was hospitalized for a year and a half for schizophrenia while a graduate student at Johns Hopkins. And then later for civil rights.

In his fight for civil rights, his form of protest was to stage one man marches. And on one such march, on April 23, 1963, William, who was raised in Mississippi, who loved Mississippi, who was walking to deliver a letter to Ross Barnett, the Governor of Mississippi, was shot and killed. William was one week shy of 36 years old.

Moore’s letter was found. The letter was opened.

To quote a couple parts, William said, “Do not go down in infamy as one who fought the democracy for all which you have not the power to prevent. Be gracious. Give more than is immediately demanded of you.” And he said, “the white man cannot be truly free himself until all men have their rights.”

William Lewis Moore

Sources: http://www.npr.org/2013/08/14/211711898/a-postmans-1963-walk-for-justice-cut-short-on-an-alabama-road, https://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/civil-rights-memorial/civil-rights-martyrs/william-lewis-moore

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