QUEEN MOTHER MOORE



Queen Mother Audley E. Moore

In Honor Of A Warrior Woman

http://www.hierographics.org/mothermoorebio.htm


n December 6 and 7, 1991, the Department of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University dedicated the entire third floor of the Center of Pan-African Culture to Queen Mother Audley E. Moore, a "Warrior Women," born on July 27, 1898, who devoted her life to active struggle on behalf of all people of African descent. She was honored for having organized on many fronts, from the great influenza epidemic of 1918 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where she worked as a volunteer nurse, to the United Nations, where she presented petitions in the 1950s charging genocide and demanding reparations to descendants of former slaves. 

She was born as Audley to Ella and St. Cry Moore on July 27, 1898 in New Iberia, Louisiana. Her grandmother, Nora Henry, was born into slavery, the daughter of an African woman who was raped by her slave master who was a doctor. Her grandfather was lynched before his wife's eyes leaving Nora Henry with five orphaned children of whom Ella Johnson - mother of Queen Mother Moore - was the youngest. Ella died in 1904. 

Queen Mother Moore completed only the third grade of her formal education. Her struggles began at the tender age of twelve fighting the advances of white men in the South . . . Queen Mother has been struggling for seventy-seven years for the human and civil rights of all African people throughout the world which makes her our warrior queen and a living legend. At the grand old age of ninety-eight, she continues to make her home in Harlem.

Some of her efforts - to help our struggle to take us towards self-determination, acquisition of our inheritance in Africa and our just claim for reparations from the United States government - are documented below: 

* The founder and president of the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women, she is a life member of both the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the National Moorish Council of Negro Women. She joined Marcus Mosiah Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) while living in Louisiana. She participated in Garvey's first international convention in New York City, owned stock in the Black Star Line, and came to New York when the UNIA launched the Black Star Line's first ship.
* She is President-General, World Federation of African People, Inc. She is founder and president of the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women, Inc. which led a successful fight to restore 23,000 families to the welfare rolls after they had been ruthlessly cut off by Louisiana authorities. She is the founder of the Committee for Reparations for Descendants of U.S. Slaves. She is a founding member of the Republic of New Africa to fight for self-determination, land, and reparations. She is founder of Mt. Addis Ababa, Inc., envisioned as a facility to totally embrace the cultural, educational, and industrial needs of her people. Through Mr. Roscoe Bradley, her executive vice president, this organization, located at Mt. Addis Ababa, Box 244, Parksville, NY 12768, taught hundreds of children African music, dance, and culture.
* She is Bishop of the Apostolic Orthodox Church of Judea. She is a founding member of the Commission to Eliminate Racism, Council of Churches of Greater New York. In organizing this commission, she staged a twenty-four-hour sit-in for three weeks. She is a founder of the African American Cultural Foundation, Inc., which led the fight against usage of the slave term "Negro."
* She joined the Republican Party, found them racist, left and joined the Communist Party to fight the Scottsboro Boys' imprisonment. She led the fight to end Jim Crow in big league baseball. She organized the community with Captain Hugh Mulzac as chairman and the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. as co-chairman. Later realizing the fallacy in this, she apologized to her people. She resigned from the Communist Party in disillusionment after they changed their position on self-determination in the South's Black Belt.
* She led protests against the Apollo Theatre for showing racist shows and led protests against the Alhambra Theatre for showing a white man as Hannibal. She helped organize CIO unions and the Work Progress Administration. She forced the WPA to employ black women on sewing projects who were previously relegated to domestic work. She also tried to organize a domestic workers union. She was arrested three times during her struggle-first for defending the rights of our children to use the public Colonial Park pool without bringing along their birth certificates; another time for defending a peddler from arrest for selling tomatoes to support his seven little children; the third time for trying to register people to vote in Green County, New York.
* She led the fight with Assemblyman William Andrews, the Reverend Ethelring Brown, and Ludlow Werner to get a congressional district in Harlem in the 1930s. She helped to organize the Maritime Union under Ferdinand Smith. She also led the fight to break Jim Crow policy in the Coast Guard and became the first black stewardess to be hired. She helped stranded seamen in London and held a mass meeting in 1946 in a hotel lobby in London for the management's refusal of accommodations due to racism. She campaigned for medical aid and funds for Ethiopia after the Italians attacked. She organized 500 nurses to sterilize sheets which were collected from laundries for bandages for the wounded Ethiopian soldiers.
* She investigated the condition of our little girls, ages twelve to fourteen, who gave birth while in a mental institution in Louisiana. The girls had been raped by their white male attendants. She was encouraged by Dr. A.L. Reddick and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, both of whom were eminent educators, to take to public speaking in defense of her people's liberty. Before this she only spoke at street meetings from a box or a ladder on the corner of 125th Street and 7th Avenue. She organized the first rent strike on Sugar Hill in 1930 and restored tenants to their apartments after having been evicted. She supported the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya and took a delegation to the British Embassy to protest the ultimatum given to the Mau Mau to surrender or be annihilated.
* She fought to save from execution the Martinville Seven and helped to organize street meetings and demonstrations. She helped to free Mae Mallory imprisoned for defending herself from an attack of the KKK in Monroe, North Carolina. She presented a petition to the United Nations in 1957 for self-determination and against genocide. She presented a second petition in 1959 to the United Nations for land and reparations. She toured throughout the country by car in 1962 begging gas from gas station to gas station to alarm our people to prepare for our Emancipation Proclamation Centennial by presenting a judicial document for reparations and self-determination proclaiming us a non-self-governing nation.
* She organized a soup kitchen in Harlem for African students after learning two students had died from malnutrition after they received their Ph.D. She also helped to organize Africa House in New York City with Mrs. Mattie Hunter for African students. She participated in the North American Regional Planning Conference (held at Kent State University in 1973) leading up to the Sixth Pan-African Congress. In 1974, she attended this international Congress in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. This Congress was the first ever international meeting of African people held on the soil of Mother Africa. She, at the request of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, became a life member of the National Council of Negro Women. She is the founder and president of the Harriet Tubman Association. She helped to organize the Unemployed Councils when millions were on the brink of starvation. She presented a demand for reparations to President Kennedy which caused him to say: "Ask not what this country can do for you, but what you can do for it."

As mentioned earlier, the above represents only "some" of the activities in which Queen Mother Moore has been involved for the past seventy or more years. We are, therefore, very much honored to have her in our presence and to take time out to honor this great African Warrior Woman. 

Unfortunately, Queen Mother Audley E. Moore, a life-long "Warrior Woman," died on May 2, 1997, at the age of 99. We will miss her. May she rest in eternal peace. 

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http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-01298.html

Moore, Audley "Queen Mother" (27 July 1898-2 May 1997), radical black cultural nationalist, was born Audley Moore, the daughter of St. Cyr Moore and Ella Hunter Moore, in New Iberia, Louisiana, a small town near New Orleans. As a young child, she heard stories about her maternal grandfather being lynched, her paternal grandmother being raped by a slave master, and her father being forcibly removed from his position as deputy sheriff by whites. Yet her family instilled in her a strong sense of racial pride and resistance.

By 1914, with only a fourth-grade education, Moore was obliged to take care of her younger sisters, Eloise and Lorita. They moved to New Orleans, where she worked as a domestic and hairdresser, and learned firsthand the drudgery of the black urban, working-class life. Moore and her sisters moved to Anniston, Alabama, a highly segregated town, during World War I. Eloise Moore established a recreation center for black soldiers from the nearby Fort McClellan, since they were barred from military recreation halls and white-owned establishments in town.

They returned to New Orleans, where in 1919 Moore heard Jamaican black nationalist Marcus Garvey speak for the first time. She was instantly attracted to his message of racial pride, self-determination, Pan African unity, and the glories of ancient Africa. As she recalled years later, ". . . it was Garvey who brought the consciousness to me" (quoted in Gilkes, p.123). She enthusiastically joined Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association. At the same time, she married Frank Warner, a working-class Haitian immigrant and Garveyite who had come to New Orleans in search of better opportunities. By 1923, the couple moved to New York City to work for the Garvey movement.

By the end of the decade, she organized Harlem tenants and campaigned for the Republican party. In 1930, she had a son. In late 1933, she took part in an exciting, massive Communist-led protest in Harlem demanding the freedom of the Scottsboro boys, nine black adolescents falsely accused of and sentenced to death for raping two white women in Alabama. Impressed with the Communist party's commitment to fighting for racial justice, she joined the Communist-affiliated International Labor Defense and became a party member. Later in life, she credited the party, noting, "I really learned to struggle in the Communist party" (Prago, p.9).

A powerful speaker and tireless organizer, she became a leading Communist in Harlem during the 1930s and 1940s, organizing efforts around Scottsboro, the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, housing, unemployment, and unions. In 1943 she served as the campaign manager for Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., a black Communist who was elected to the New York City council. She also joined the National Association of Colored Women and Mary McLeod Bethune's National Council of Negro Women. In the late 1940s, she worked on the legal defense committee for Claudia Jones, a high-ranking black woman Communist indicted by the government for subversion. Moore left the party in 1950, claiming it was no longer committed to fighting for racial equality.

After her resignation from the party, she gradually emerged as a radical black cultural nationalist, embracing all things African (real and imagined). She espoused the premise that black people themselves had to lead their own movements and that African Americans needed to, as she often put it, "denegroize" their minds of internalized racism (Gilkes, p. 116). She also began wearing African clothes, which became her trademark

With her sister Eloise, Moore founded the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women, an organization dedicated to welfare rights, antilynching, and prisoners' rights. Moore claimed that she and Eloise in the late 1950s schooled Malcolm X on the importance of Africa to the black American struggle. In 1962, she founded the Reparations Committee of Descendants of U.S. Slaves, Inc., after discovering an obscure clause in a Methodist encyclopedia that stated "international law considers an enslaved people satisfied with their condition if the people do not demand recompense after 100 years have passed" (Gilkes, p. 115). Decades before the movement gained momentum, Moore vocally called for reparations from the federal government as compensation for slavery and discriminatory Jim Crow laws in the South. Moving to Philadelphia in the early 1960s, she served as an elder mentor to the Revolutionary Action Movement, a black radical organization. She also became a follower of Robert Williams, a black militant who advocated armed self-defense. Later in the decade, she and Lorita started the Ethiopian Coptic Church of North and South America. In 1968, she was a cofounder of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization that called for the establishment of an independent black state in the American South.

In 1972, she took an extensive trip to Africa to attend the funeral of Kwame Nkrumah, the exiled Pan Africanist founder of Ghana, in Guinea. She was invited to Ghana, where according to her own report the title "Queen Mother" was bestowed on her by Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, spiritual and cultural leader of the Asante people. She also traveled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where she addressed the All-African Women's Conference. She traveled to Africa several more times in later years. Inspired by her travels, she founded the Queen Mother Moore Research Institute and the Eloise Moore College of African Studies and Vocational and Industrial School on a mountain in upstate New York they named Mount Addis Ababa. The two institutions, however, burned down in 1978. Though critical of the white feminist movement for racism, she nevertheless remained an advocate of black women's organizations.

During the 1980s Moore was a recipient of several awards, and she was one of fifty prominent African American women featured in Brian Lanker's critically acclaimed I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America (1989). In 1994, she addressed a Detroit conference of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations, where she declared "Reparations. Reparations. Keep on. Keep on. We've got to win" (New York Times, 7 May 1997). She was of one of four revered elder black women activists invited to address the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C. Beloved by many for her passionate commitment to reparations and fighting against racism, her death marked the end of a long, extraordinary career of political activism merging black nationalism, Pan Africanism, and Communism.



Bibliography

Audley Moore's 1963 pamphlet Why Reparations? Reparations is the Battle Cry for the Economic and Social Freedom of More Than 25 Million Descendants of African Slaves makes a powerful case for federal compensation for slavery and racial discrimination (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City). The bulk of her personal papers are not contained in any repository. News about Moore in the 1940s often appeared in the Amsterdam News and the Communist party's Daily Worker. And articles during the 1970s can be found in Muhammad Speaks and the Amsterdam News. A lengthy oral history interview by Cheryl Gilkes can be found in The Black Women Oral History Project, vol. 8 (1991), edited by Ruth Edmonds Hill. See also interviews by Mark Naison and Ruth Prago for Oral History of the American Left (OHAL) in Tamiment Library, New York University. Although often containing incorrect information, her FBI files are also useful. Muhammad Ahmad, "Queen Mother Moore," in Mari Jo Buhle, Paul Buhle, and Dan Georgakas, eds., Encyclopedia of the American Left, 2d. ed. (1998), pp. 512-13, and Barbara Bair, "Audley 'Queen Mother' Moore," in Darlene Clark Hine, ed., Black Women in America: A Historical Encyclopedia, vol. 2 (1994), pp. 812-13 are valuable overviews of her life and activism. Two dissertations contain extensive discussion of Moore: see Kai Jackson-Issa, "Her Own Book: Autobiographical Practice in the Oral Narratives of Queen Mother Audley Moore" (1999), and Erik S. McDuffie, "Long Journeys: Four Black Women and the Communist Party, USA, 1930-1956" (forthcoming). Moore is also briefly discussed in Robin Kelley, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination (2002); Mark Solomon, The Cry Was Unity: Communists and African Americans, 1917-1936 (1998); and Irma Watkins-Owens, Blood Relations: Caribbean Immigrants and the Harlem Community, 1900-1930 (1996). A stunning photograph and good synopsis of her life appears in Brian Lanker, I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America (1989). Earlier scholarship also contains useful information about Moore's activism: see Mark Naison, Communists in Harlem during the Depression (1983), and "The Black Scholar Interviews: Queen Mother Moore," The Black Scholar (Mar.-Apr. 1973). An obituary is in the New York Times, 7 May 1997.

Erik S. McDuffie

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http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/152.html

'Queen Mother' Moore; black nationalist leader
From Associated Press
5 May 1996

NEW YORK - Audley "Queen Mother" Moore, an outspoken civil rights leader and black nationalist who befriended leaders from Marcus Garvey to Nelson Mandela, has died. She was 98.

Queen Mother Moore died Friday in a Brooklyn nursing home, said Carol A. Baugh, a spokeswoman for the Henry W. Payne Inc. Funeral Directors.

Queen Mother Moore was a hero in Harlem and a familiar figure to historians. She had become the elder stateswoman of black nationalism.

One of her last public appearances was at the Million Man March in October 1995, where she appeared on stage with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others.

She was born in New Iberia, La., on July 27,1898. Both parents died by the time she was in fourth grade, so she dropped out of school and by age 15 became a hairdresser.

A few years later, Queen Mother Moore's life changed when she heard a speech in New Orleans by Garvey, a Jamaican immigrant known as the "Black Moses" who founded a back-to-Africa movement.

Inspired by Garvey's talk of African culture and pride, she moved to Harlem and became a leader of his Universal Negro Improvement Association. Garvey's movement collapsed when he was deported in 1927 after serving two years in prison for mail fraud.

But Queen Mother Moore's path was set. A powerful speaker and organizer, she linked herself over the next 60 years to causes that ranged the political spectrum - always working outside the civil rights mainstream.

Former Mayor David N. Dinkins, the city's first black mayor who grew up in Harlem, said Queen Mother Moore was "an inspiration to a lot of blacks, especially black women. She was always supportive and inspirational to me. She was always in my corner."

Taking the first of many trips to Africa in 1972, she was given the honorary title "Queen Mother" of an Ashanti tribe in Ghana, which became her informal name in the United States. She attended the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa, according to her family.

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http://www.5x5media.com/bhp/pages/moore.shtml


"Queen Mother" Moore
(1898-1997)

Those who seek temporary security rather than basic liberty deserve neither...

My bones are tired. Not tired of struggling, but tired of oppression.

Our purpose in life is to leave a legacy for our children and our children's children. For this reason, we must correct history that at present denies our humanity and self-respect.
-Queen Mother Moore


Queen Mother Moore was born Audley Moore in New Iberia, Louisiana, and acquired the appellation Queen Mother on her first trip to Ghana, where she attended the funeral of Kwame Nkrumah in 1972. She was in the forefront of the struggle for 77 years.

Her family was scarred by virulent racism. Her great-grandmother was raped by her slave master and her grandfather was lynched. Forced to quit school in the fourth grade, she studied to be a hairdresser to take care of her sisters. In the 1920's, she traveled around the country only to learn that racism was not confined to the South. She finally settled in Harlem where she organized, mobilized and demonstrated against racist oppression and imperialism directed towards Africa and people of African descent. She was locked into perpetual struggle against black oppression at all levels, joining numerous groups and founding a number of her own.

Initially inspired by Marcus Garvey's emphasis on African pride and culture, she waged battle on the Black Nationalist, Communist and Pan-Africanist fronts. In keeping with her credo, "There was nothing left to do but struggle," her list of activities defy enumeration.

Impressed by the Communist Party's role as the vanguard in the defense of the Scottsboro Boys, she joined the party. However, she left when she realized that the party could or would not translate its ideas about black self-determination into action.

In 1955, she joined a small band of activists demanding reparations for slavery and its insidious legacy which has permeated black lives up to this day. During Black History Month 2002, on February 6, the Queen Mother Moore Reparations Resolution for Descendants of Enslaved Africans in New York City bill was submitted to the City Council.

Spanning an era from the heyday of Marcus Garvey to the second coming of Nelson Mandela, our Warrior Queen waged war on the hydra of black oppression whenever it raised an ugly head. It can definitely be said, in deference to Mandela, that the struggle was truly her life.
Books

Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Darlene Hine, Elsa Barkley Brown and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (eds.), Indiana University Press, 1994.
Buy it in hardcover: Amazon.com
Buy it in paperback: Amazon.com

The Black Scholar (interview), Issue 4, March-April, 1973.
Book of Black Heroes: Great Women in the Struggle, Toyomi Igus (ed.), Just Us Books, 1991.
Buy it in hardcover: Amazon.com
Buy it in paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America, Brian Lanker. Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1989.
Buy it in library binding: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
Buy it in paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
Links

Queen Mother Audley E. Moore: In Honor of a Warrior Woman

History Matters: "Speak, Garvey, Speak!" A Follower Recalls A Garvey Rally
"Queen Mother" Moore
(1898-1997)

Those who seek temporary security rather than basic liberty deserve neither...

My bones are tired. Not tired of struggling, but tired of oppression.

Our purpose in life is to leave a legacy for our children and our children's children. For this reason, we must correct history that at present denies our humanity and self-respect.
-Queen Mother Moore


Queen Mother Moore was born Audley Moore in New Iberia, Louisiana, and acquired the appellation Queen Mother on her first trip to Ghana, where she attended the funeral of Kwame Nkrumah in 1972. She was in the forefront of the struggle for 77 years.

Her family was scarred by virulent racism. Her great-grandmother was raped by her slave master and her grandfather was lynched. Forced to quit school in the fourth grade, she studied to be a hairdresser to take care of her sisters. In the 1920's, she traveled around the country only to learn that racism was not confined to the South. She finally settled in Harlem where she organized, mobilized and demonstrated against racist oppression and imperialism directed towards Africa and people of African descent. She was locked into perpetual struggle against black oppression at all levels, joining numerous groups and founding a number of her own.

Initially inspired by Marcus Garvey's emphasis on African pride and culture, she waged battle on the Black Nationalist, Communist and Pan-Africanist fronts. In keeping with her credo, "There was nothing left to do but struggle," her list of activities defy enumeration.

Impressed by the Communist Party's role as the vanguard in the defense of the Scottsboro Boys, she joined the party. However, she left when she realized that the party could or would not translate its ideas about black self-determination into action.

In 1955, she joined a small band of activists demanding reparations for slavery and its insidious legacy which has permeated black lives up to this day. During Black History Month 2002, on February 6, the Queen Mother Moore Reparations Resolution for Descendants of Enslaved Africans in New York City bill was submitted to the City Council.

Spanning an era from the heyday of Marcus Garvey to the second coming of Nelson Mandela, our Warrior Queen waged war on the hydra of black oppression whenever it raised an ugly head. It can definitely be said, in deference to Mandela, that the struggle was truly her life.
Books

Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Darlene Hine, Elsa Barkley Brown and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (eds.), Indiana University Press, 1994.

The Black Scholar (interview), Issue 4, March-April, 1973.
Book of Black Heroes: Great Women in the Struggle, Toyomi Igus (ed.), Just Us Books, 1991.

I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America, Brian Lanker. Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1989.

"Speak, Garvey, Speak!"A Follower Recalls a Garvey Rally

The Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey, a brilliant orator and black nationalist leader, turned his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) into the most important black organization in the United States in the early 1920s. Garvey's speeches often drew huge audiences, and stories of Garvey's stubborn resistance in the face of white hostility proliferated among his supporters. In an oral history interview, devotee Audley Moore remembered the Jamaican's defiant behavior at a rally in New Orleans caused "the [white] police [to] file out . . . like little puppy dogs with their tails behind them." She proudly recalled the crowd intimidating the police by raising their guns and chanting "speak, Garvey, speak."
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Queen Mother Audley Moore: They didn't want Garvey to speak in New Orleans. We had a delegation to go to the mayor, and the next night, they allowed him to come. And we all was armed. Everybody had bags of ammunition, too. So when Garvey came in, we applauded, and the police were lined man to man along the line of each bench. So Mr. Garvey said, "My friends, I want to apologize for not speaking to you last night. But the reason I didn't was because the mayor of the city of New Orleans committed himself to act as a stooge for the police department to prevent me from speaking." And the police jumped up and said, "I'll run you in."When he did this, everybody jumped up on the benches and pulled out their guns and just held the guns up in the air and said, "Speak, Garvey, speak."And Garvey said, "As I was saying," and he went on and repeated what he had said before, and the police filed out the hall like little puppy dogs with their tails behind them. So that was radical enough. I had two guns with me, one in my bosom and one in my pocketbook, little 38 specials.

Source: Interview done by the Oral History of the American Left, Tamiment Library, NYU for the public radio program Grandma Was An Activist, producers Charlie Potter and Beth Friend.

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http://www.rwor.org/a/v19/905-09/908/queen.htm

Queen Mother Moore: A Life of Struggle

Revolutionary Worker #908, May 25, 1997

"You've got to be prepared to lose your life in order to gain your life."

Queen Mother Moore

Queen Mother Moore, a long time revolutionary activist and fighter against the oppression of Black people, died on Friday, May 7 in Brooklyn, New York. Queen Mother Moore was one person about whom it could truly be said--"the struggle was her life." For nearly a hundred years she was tireless in her efforts to mobilize other people to stand up with her against the crimes of U.S. imperialism. From fighting against racist oppression inside the U.S. to local community organizing, from fighting against imperialist attacks on Africa to taking part in anti-war mobilizations--Queen Mother Moore was there.

Queen Mother Moore was a Pan Africanist and she drew a lot of inspiration from struggles around the world. Queen Mother Moore's heart sang whenever she heard of people striking blows against U.S. imperialism--whether it was at home in Harlem or far off in Vietnam, Korea, China, Central America, South America or Africa. Even in the last quarter-century of her life--the years after her 75th birthday--Queen Mother Moore remained active. In 1983 she attended the Women's Encampment at Seneca Falls, N.Y., a women's anti-war mobilization. And throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Moore worked to mobilize support for the struggle of the Azanian people against the racist apartheid government in South Africa. She never seemed to rest even when she was out just trying to take a break--there are many stories, including one about how she had no problem standing up in the middle of movies that she found particularly offensive and insulting to Black people and demanding that the theater shut down the film and not leaving until they did or the police came to drag her out.
A Lifetime of Struggle

Queen Mother Moore was born Audley Eloise Moore in a small town just outside of New Orleans in 1898. Moore's experience growing up--especially the semi-feudal oppression and horrible terror unleashed against Black people in the South--shaped her views. One of Moore's grandfathers was lynched and one of her grandmothers, a former slave, was raped by a white man. Moore herself was forced to leave school and go to work after the 4th grade. Moore often talked about how the police in and around New Orleans used to routinely round up Black men for vagrancy if they were just standing on a corner talking. She also told how the police would raid Fish Fries and arrest all the Black men only to return later and rape the Black women. Moore was also deeply impacted by what she saw happening in the years during and after World War I--the extreme racism the Black troops faced during and after the war and the racist pogroms unleashed against Black people in cities all over the country after the war.

In the face of all this, Moore jumped into the struggle and began what turned into a lifelong search for answers about how to change things. As a young woman Moore hooked up with Marcus Garvey and joined his United Negro Improvement Association. While the Garveyite movement--centered on Black capitalist schemes about going back to Africa--was hardly revolutionary, it did gather a lot of support insofar as it went up in the face of the U.S. imperialists. Moore used to say that what attracted her to Garvey was that he brought Black people a sense of pride and worth when he spoke about their origins in Africa and the history of their peoples and he heated up her anger when he talked about imperialist domination of Africa.

Queen Mother Moore used to tell a story about the time when Marcus Garvey came to speak to Black people in New Orleans. And this story reveals a lot about Moore herself. Garvey was arrested when he arrived in New Orleans even before he had a chance to speak to any Black people. Immediately the Black community began to mobilize against this attack and forced the authorities to release Garvey the next day. When Garvey showed up to speak at the local Longshoremen's Hall, the hall was packed with Black people and white cops. In a 1973 interview with Black Scholar magazine Moore told the rest of the story: "Everybody said, `He'll speak tonight. Believe me, he'll speak tonight.' And they went and bought ammunition. Bullets. I had a suitcase full. My husband had a suitcase full. I had two guns--one in my bosom and one in my pocketbook. My husband had a 45. Everybody was told and everybody knew they had to come armed. We wanted that freedom."

When Garvey began to speak, the police threatened to arrest him again. Moore continued: "At that point, everybody stood on the benches, every gun came out. Every gun said `Speak, Garvey, speak.' That was 1920. Just in case you think the white folks had us cowered down in those days in the South. And then Garvey said: `And as I was saying....' The police filed out of there like little puppy dogs wagging their tails. They knew they would have been slaughtered in that hall that night. Because nobody was afraid to die. You've got to be prepared to lose your life in order to gain your life."

In the 1920s, Moore left Louisiana and began to search the country for someplace where Black people were free--a search that helped her see how the oppression of Black people and white supremacy wasn't peculiar to the South but was part of the system that ruled all over the country. As Moore told it: "After the Garvey movement, I went all over looking for freedom. I went to California, for instance. In Santa Monica they charged me $5 for a bottle of soda. They said you should have gone to Chicago. I went to Chicago and found our people living with kerosene lamps, gas lights and one toilet in the hall for everybody. They said, `Oh, you should have gone to Harlem. We got everything sewed up there.' I went to Harlem and found conditions worse than ever. I was seeking this freedom. It's terrible when you really don't know, but at least I knew my people should be together."

Moore settled in Harlem and stayed there for most of the rest of her life. She threw herself into the struggle of the people there. She became involved in the fight around the Scottsboro case--an infamous case of Black men being framed for rape in Alabama. Inspired by the way this case was fought and the role of the Communist Party in helping to lead it, Moore decided to join the Communist Party, USA. At the same time, Moore was neck deep in organizing community struggles--she organized the first Black rent strikes in New York City and broke the backs of the landlords in Harlem. Moore helped to develop the strategy of organizing the community to move the furniture of people evicted from apartments back inside the apartment and then stand off any attempt by the landlord's goons to re-evict the people. She helped form the Harriet Tubman Association, which worked to organize Black women workers including domestic workers.

One of the things that attracted Moore to the Communist Party was that in words it was committed to the idea of self-determination for Black people--up to and including the right to secede and form a separate Black republic. When the CP began to back off of confronting the U.S. rulers about the oppression of Black people and soon abandoned the idea of self-determination in words and deeds, Moore left the CP. From there, Moore continued to organize the people and fight the system.

In 1955 she joined with a handful of others to begin a campaign demanding that the U.S. government pay reparations to Black people for slavery and all the oppression brought down on them since then. She hooked up with Malcolm X and joined his Organization of Afro-American Unity and formed countless organizations and alternative schools on her own. It was during this time that she also made her first visit to Africa to attend Kwame Nkrumah's funeral. And it was during this visit that she was given the honorary name of Queen Mother of the Ashanti people in Ghana.

Queen Mother Moore never became a revolutionary communist. But she hated U.S. imperialism and all the suffering it brought down on Black people and all people around the world. She never stopped fighting against it and searching for some kind of real solution. She often railed against those she saw as selling out to the imperialists, the "Negroes" created by the system. In the 1973 Black Scholar interview she spoke about how she saw the goals of the struggle of Black people. "Those who seek temporary security rather than basic liberty deserve neither.... We began to talk about wanting to be first class citizens. We didn't want to be second class citizens. You would have sworn that second class was in the Constitution. Also that citizens have to fight for rights. Imagine a citizen having to fight for civil rights! The very thought of it is repulsive. And I resent it and I reject this citizenship that was imposed on me. From the bottom of my heart I reject it. This is the thing that motivates me and keeps me going."

When Queen Mother Moore began to search the country for freedom in the 1920s and found only more oppression she said, "There wasn't nothing to do but get in the struggle." She did this with tremendous passion. And later, when she was 75 years old and taking stock of her life so far, she tried to sum it up like this. "Yes, I have done my best to measure up, to qualify as a woman in the Black movement. I have done my best." The masses of people everywhere are thankful for that and will surely miss a dear, courageous and inspiring friend.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
http://rwor.org
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
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Queen Mother witnessed much history

July 27

Afrikan amerikan Registry

On this date in 1898. Queen Mother was born. She was an African- American activist and civil right leader.

Queen Mother Moore was born Audley Moore in New Iberia, Louisiana. Her early experiences with racial violence in the south had a profound effect on her consciousness at a young age. Her parents died when she was in 4th grade and by age 14 Moore became the primary supporter of her two younger sisters, Eloise and Lorita. During the 1918 influenza epidemic she worked as a volunteer nurse. During WW1, she and her two sisters traveled to Anniston, Alabama to help create what she calls "the first USO for Black soldiers" which provided medical care and food, and other services for soldiers who were denied assistance by the Red Cross.

Soon she returned to New Orleans where she heard Marcus Garvey speak. This experience of collective unity deeply affected Queen Mother and resulted in her joining the UNIA. Queen Mother relocated with her husband and her two sisters to Harlem in the early 1920s. There she organized domestic workers in the Bronx labor market and helped Black tenants in their struggles against white landlords. She was arrested repeatedly for her activities, but could not be stopped in her activism. In 1931, she participated in the Communist party's march in Harlem to free the Scottsboro boys. Inspired by the party's stance on anti-racism, Queen Mother joined the International Labor Defense and the Communist Party. During the 1930s, she organized around housing issues, the Italian-Ethiopian war, racial prejudice in film and a host of other issues confronting poor and oppressed communities.

She was a Communist Party candidate for the New York State Assembly in 1938 and for alderman in 1940. She was also a member of the National Association of Colored Women and the National Council of Negro Women. By 1950 Queen Mother had resigned from the Communist Party and helped found the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women, which worked on welfare rights, prisoners' rights, and anti-lynching. In 1963 she formed the Reparations Committee of Descendants of U.S. Slaves to demand reparations for Blacks from the government. She drummed up support around the country to get over a million signatures to petition the government and was successful in presenting the signatures to President Kennedy in December of that year, the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

In the late 1960s, Queen Mother was one of the first signers of the Republic of New Africa's Independence Charter, which called for the creation of five independently governed states. In the early 1970's Queen Mother began to travel throughout Africa at the invitation of political leaders of newly independent African nations. She went to New Guinea, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria. In the early 1970s, she was officially installed as "Queen Mother" in an Ashanti ceremony in Ghana. In the late 1970s, she helped to found the Eloise Moore College of African Studies, Vocational, and Industrial School in Parksville, New York in memory of her sister who had died in 1978.

Declining health and advancing age slowed Moore's long career of activism. She remained a constant presence in New York political circles, and was known and loved by activists nationwide. She was present when Nelson Mandela came to New York in the summer of 1990, and she was one of only five invited female speakers to address the Million-Man March in October 1995. The black liberation struggle lost a formidable warrior when Queen Mother Moore died May 2, 1997.

Commentary 
ALONG THE COLOR LINE

By Dr.Manning Marable 

Reparations: The new civil rights agenda
Several months ago a progressive black New York City councilman, Charles Barron, submitted a bold resolution to his City Council "to support the using of reparations for descendants of enslaved Africans in New York City." Barron called for the creation of a "Queen Mother Moore commission to hold hearings, conduct research and recommend compensation to the descendants of enslaved Africans in New York City." The naming of the resolution in honor of Queen Mother Moore was significant, because more than any other single personality in the 20th century, she was most closely identified with the struggle for black reparations.

Barron's call for the creation of a reparations commission was also notable in its historical arguments advanced that justified legislative action. "The enslavement of Africans continued in New York City after the colonial period" and the founding of the United States, Barron's resolution declares. "In short, Africans built New York City's infrastructure and economy and were never paid . They were (also) subjected to the worse kind of rape, torture, brutality and murder the human mind can conjure up. Evidence of this cruelty can be validated by the over 20,000 African ancestral remains that have been excavated in downtown Manhattan ."

Barron, who is widely being considered as a potential mayoral candidate in New York City for 2005, knows his history well. When New York City was first founded by the Dutch and later English colonists, African Americans were brutally exploited to construct the wealth of that city. We were, in effect, the first "stock" on the New York Stock Exchange - which was a slave market. Enslaved blacks built the wall on Wall Street. Compensation is about four centuries overdue.

Several months ago, celebrated Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree and other legal activists filed a suit demanding reparations to the black survivors of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma race riot. The actual history of this horrific crime against black humanity has only become publicized in recent years.

On May 31, 1921, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a large mob of whites threatened to lynch a black man named Dick Rowland who had been accused of attempting to rape a white woman and was being held under police custody. A group of African Americans tried to protect Rowland from being taken from custody, and white rioters became uncontrollable. Local, county, and state officials did nothing to quell the white violence as black-owned businesses and homes were looted and burned. Many of Tulsa's "special deputies" led the mob, participating in murder, assault, and robbery against African-American victims. The white mob targeted its rage on the city's black middle class neighborhood of Greenwood, which African Americans commonly referred to as the "Black Wall Street."

An estimated 10,000 whites ransacked Greenwood, destroying its hospital, library, and virtually every school, church, and business. Perhaps as many as 300 people, nearly all African Americans, were killed. Although property damage at that time was estimated at $2 million, and more than 1,200 homes had been destroyed, local prosecutors and law enforcement officers failed to arrest or indict a single white rioter. Local officials changed Tulsa building code regulations to make it difficult for the black survivors of the riot to rebuild their homes and businesses in the Greenwood neighborhood.

For the next 70 years, state and local leaders successfully suppressed any inquiry into these racial atrocities. Finally, in 1997, State Representative Don Ross successfully sponsored a bill creating a state commission to investigate the Tulsa race riot. There were several factors that contributed to the success of the commission's subsequent investigations. Foremost was the fact that about 100 African-American survivors of the riot were still alive and effectively testified about the events of May 31-June 1, 1921. Unlike slavery, the tragedy was close enough to our time for most whites to feel connected with and in some cases even responsible for the breakdown of civil authority resulting in mass murder.
In February 2001, the Oklahoma state commission recommended that reparations be paid to the survivors and called for scholarships and the construction of a state memorial to mark the tragedy. Republican Governor Frank Keating formally apologized, describing the Tulsa riot as "an unforgivable, unexplainable part of our history." Attorney Ogletree's recent lawsuit is designed to force the state of Oklahoma to live up to its legal and moral obligations.

These recent legislative and judicial efforts indicate that the issue of black reparations is not and will not go away. There are indeed effective ways for the advocates of reparations to get around the issues of "sovereign immunity" - the prohibition against suing the government - "and statute of limitations" - that these crimes were committed so long ago that prosecution cannot occur.

There are many international conventions or legal covenants to which the U.S. is a signatory that define fundamental violations of human rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Genocide Convention outlaws all policies and practices that would exterminate any people on the basis of their racial identity. The Geneva conventions after World War II also established legal criteria for what constituted "crimes against humanity." There is no international statute of limitations for mass murder and genocide.

If the University of Michigan's affirmative action program currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court is overturned, African Americans will then be confronted with a new "Plessy v. Ferguson" decision, which back in 1896 legalized the "separate but equal" standard creating Jim Crow segregation. The argument for black reparations may be our most effective tool for pushing forward the struggle for African-American freedom in the 21st century.

Dr. Manning Marable is professor of Public Affairs, Political Science and History, and the director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University in New York. "Along the Color Line" is distributed free of charge to over 350 publications throughout the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Marable's column is also available on the Internet at www.manningmarable.net.
Commentary 
ALONG THE COLOR LINE
By Dr.Manning Marable 

**********************************************************************
Reparations: The new civil rights agenda

http://www.augustafocus.com/NEWSARCHIVE2003/commentary5803.htm


Several months ago a progressive black New York City councilman, Charles Barron, submitted a bold resolution to his City Council "to support the using of reparations for descendants of enslaved Africans in New York City." Barron called for the creation of a "Queen Mother Moore commission to hold hearings, conduct research and recommend compensation to the descendants of enslaved Africans in New York City." The naming of the resolution in honor of Queen Mother Moore was significant, because more than any other single personality in the 20th century, she was most closely identified with the struggle for black reparations.

Barron's call for the creation of a reparations commission was also notable in its historical arguments advanced that justified legislative action. "The enslavement of Africans continued in New York City after the colonial period" and the founding of the United States, Barron's resolution declares. "In short, Africans built New York City's infrastructure and economy and were never paid . They were (also) subjected to the worse kind of rape, torture, brutality and murder the human mind can conjure up. Evidence of this cruelty can be validated by the over 20,000 African ancestral remains that have been excavated in downtown Manhattan ."

Barron, who is widely being considered as a potential mayoral candidate in New York City for 2005, knows his history well. When New York City was first founded by the Dutch and later English colonists, African Americans were brutally exploited to construct the wealth of that city. We were, in effect, the first "stock" on the New York Stock Exchange - which was a slave market. Enslaved blacks built the wall on Wall Street. Compensation is about four centuries overdue.

Several months ago, celebrated Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree and other legal activists filed a suit demanding reparations to the black survivors of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma race riot. The actual history of this horrific crime against black humanity has only become publicized in recent years.

On May 31, 1921, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a large mob of whites threatened to lynch a black man named Dick Rowland who had been accused of attempting to rape a white woman and was being held under police custody. A group of African Americans tried to protect Rowland from being taken from custody, and white rioters became uncontrollable. Local, county, and state officials did nothing to quell the white violence as black-owned businesses and homes were looted and burned. Many of Tulsa's "special deputies" led the mob, participating in murder, assault, and robbery against African-American victims. The white mob targeted its rage on the city's black middle class neighborhood of Greenwood, which African Americans commonly referred to as the "Black Wall Street."

An estimated 10,000 whites ransacked Greenwood, destroying its hospital, library, and virtually every school, church, and business. Perhaps as many as 300 people, nearly all African Americans, were killed. Although property damage at that time was estimated at $2 million, and more than 1,200 homes had been destroyed, local prosecutors and law enforcement officers failed to arrest or indict a single white rioter. Local officials changed Tulsa building code regulations to make it difficult for the black survivors of the riot to rebuild their homes and businesses in the Greenwood neighborhood.

For the next 70 years, state and local leaders successfully suppressed any inquiry into these racial atrocities. Finally, in 1997, State Representative Don Ross successfully sponsored a bill creating a state commission to investigate the Tulsa race riot. There were several factors that contributed to the success of the commission's subsequent investigations. Foremost was the fact that about 100 African-American survivors of the riot were still alive and effectively testified about the events of May 31-June 1, 1921. Unlike slavery, the tragedy was close enough to our time for most whites to feel connected with and in some cases even responsible for the breakdown of civil authority resulting in mass murder.
In February 2001, the Oklahoma state commission recommended that reparations be paid to the survivors and called for scholarships and the construction of a state memorial to mark the tragedy. Republican Governor Frank Keating formally apologized, describing the Tulsa riot as "an unforgivable, unexplainable part of our history." Attorney Ogletree's recent lawsuit is designed to force the state of Oklahoma to live up to its legal and moral obligations.

These recent legislative and judicial efforts indicate that the issue of black reparations is not and will not go away. There are indeed effective ways for the advocates of reparations to get around the issues of "sovereign immunity" - the prohibition against suing the government - "and statute of limitations" - that these crimes were committed so long ago that prosecution cannot occur.

There are many international conventions or legal covenants to which the U.S. is a signatory that define fundamental violations of human rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Genocide Convention outlaws all policies and practices that would exterminate any people on the basis of their racial identity. The Geneva conventions after World War II also established legal criteria for what constituted "crimes against humanity." There is no international statute of limitations for mass murder and genocide.

If the University of Michigan's affirmative action program currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court is overturned, African Americans will then be confronted with a new "Plessy v. Ferguson" decision, which back in 1896 legalized the "separate but equal" standard creating Jim Crow segregation. The argument for black reparations may be our most effective tool for pushing forward the struggle for African-American freedom in the 21st century.

Dr. Manning Marable is professor of Public Affairs, Political Science and History, and the director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University in New York. "Along the Color Line" is distributed free of charge to over 350 publications throughout the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Marable's column is also available on the Internet at www.manningmarable.net.

 

Links:

Queen Mother Audley E. Moore: In Honor of a Warrior Woman

History Matters: "Speak, Garvey, Speak!" A Follower Recalls A Garvey Rally ::

Organization of Tribal Unity

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