Decades before Martin Luther King had a dream, Harry T. Moore was registering black voters by the thousands in Florida. As a leader of Florida’s NAACP, he ticked off a lot of powerful people. Many were not surprised when Moore and his wife were killed by a bomb in their home Christmas night of 1951.
"I don’t think there’s any doubt the Klan killed him."
But Moore’s biographer, Ben Green, thinks there was much more behind the murders.
Moore was outspoken in his belief that he would change the face of Florida politics when he registered 100,000 black voters, more than any other state.
Ben Green says, "I think that’s why he was killed, and I think the people who put the Klan up to it were probably tied into the white power structure. I don’t think it was an individual hate crime. I think it was a political assassination."
But five decades and several FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigations later, there has never been an arrest. It’s an ugly chapter in Florida history, and one many believed was better forgotten.
“The state of Florida wanted this story to go away, and they wanted to get back to tourist paradise."
But Florida Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist announced this month his civil rights division is taking another look.
"There may be new evidence. There may be new facts that would come to light. There may be somebody who was familiar with what happened in 1951 and may be feeling a little guilty," says Crist.
Crist says his office has already received one new lead. Green says Moore’s one living daughter hopes this fresh look will at least provide some answers to who was really behind the death of one of the nation’s first civil rights martyrs.