“Their credit was being denied, and in some cases, people were being pried and otherwise pressured. I don’t know which family it was in that group…. they had a young child that required a special ration, and that drug store denied them.
It [also] reverts to the time that Dr. McMillian wrote the book Negro Higher Education in South Carolina. Many of us felt crushed for him because he wrote the truth, and in essence, he was denied his right to freedom of speech; highly qulaified man, PHd from Germany. Turner [president of SC State College] said don’t write the book, and he [McMillian] said he was going to write the book, and so he wrote the book, and when the book was published, Turner of course fired him. Then there was the situation with Mr. Pyatt, who wrote articles about the handling of the track team and sports in general at the college. He was censored. His adviser told him that he couldn’t be the editor. Then the lady at the laundry was slapped by her boss because she refused to “Yes Sir” and “No Sir” and the NAACP sought to get a warrant for the man’s arrest, but you know what the situation was in those days. They said there was no probable cause to arrest him, so there was a build up and at that time.”
– Fred Moore
The year was 1955. One year after the landmark Brown vs the Board of education ruling that put an end to segregation in public schools. It was business as usual in Orangeburg, SC, but black parents were demanding that their county obey the law. The Orangeburg Civil Rights Movement petitioned for integration, but this was met with strong resistance from white citizens who in turn formed a White Citizens Council composed of several white businessmen. The council’s members refused to sell their goods or services to any black person who signed the petition. This included denying essential goods such as food, medicines, oil for heating and gas for their vehicles. African-Americans were even fired from their jobs, evicted from the places they rented and some even had their homes foreclosed.
Enter Fred Moore.
Moore was student body president of South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC, at the time. Before he accepted this role, he recalled being approached by other school leaders to boycott the laundry, but those leaders were eventually intimidated out of taking such action. This would not be the case with Fred Moore.
Moore and members of the student council went to SC State College President Benner C. Turner and asked him to stop buying from those businesses that denied the black community, but he refused. The students boycotted the campus food services and refused to go to class. Fifteen hundred students participated in the boycott and strikes. FIFTEEN HUNDRED!
This action put a major dent in the pockets of the food service owners and the all white Board of Trustees instructed the college’s president to expel Moore along with several other student leaders. Moore was just two weeks shy of his May graduation.
You would think that in 2011, the mostly black Board of Trustees would have given these students their degrees and thanked these students for their bravery. While apologies were issued to Moore and the other student leaders, they have never received a degree from SC State University.
In February of 2010, I wrote and article in the student newspaper entitled ‘More needs to be done for Fred Moore.” I demanded that his legacy be repeated in every University 101 class and that he be given his degree. Similarly, a petition to issue degrees to these former students was spearheaded by the 2009-2010 Student Government Association President Zachary Middleton.
Middleton and his team collected 500 student signatures and created a video in which students appealed personally to the Board. Despite this, the petition was denied by the mostly black Board of Trustees. We are not even sure they watched the video.
Oh for shame.
The legacy of Fred Moore has been forgotten; restricted to the annals of time and this blog. Maybe one day he will get what he deserves.
Time will tell.