Harry and Harriett Moore

Background

Harry and Harriett Moore were lead human rights activists in Brevard County, FL. In 1934, they organized the first Brevard County branch of the NAACP. As executive secretary of the Progressive Voters League, Harry helped break down registration barriers and was responsible for the registration of tens of thousands of black Americans throughout Florida.

On Christmas evening in 1951, the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary, members of the Klan exploded a bomb in their home under their bedroom, killing them both. No arrests were made. This was the first killing of prominent civil rights leaders and it was one of the sparks igniting the modern civil rights movement.

Legal Status

Joseph Neville Cox, the secretary of the Orlando chapter of the Klan, committed suicide a day after being questioned by the FBI about the case in 1952. In 1997 another Klansman, Ed Spivey, gave a deathbed confession that Cox had masterminded the murders. In 1990, investigators concluded that the responsible parties had died. In 2005, the state attorney general reopened the case again and reached the same conclusion. In addition to Cox and Spivey, the attorney general’s report named Earl J. Brooklyn and Tillman H. Blevin, then both Klan members, as responsible for the bombing.