As a teenager, Frederick Moore was so inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Hosea Williams that he left his Crawfordville home and moved to Atlanta to join the civil rights movement.
And he didn’t just join. Moore made a career out of the movement, friends and family said. He took a job with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1968 and never looked back.
“It was the only job he ever had,” said Ralph Worrell, one of Moore’s closest friends and a co-worker at the SCLC. “And he was there for more than 40 years.”
Moore and Worrell worked within the movement during the same time, often traveling to cities or states where they were not welcome. Their friendship over the years kept them in daily contact, when they would reminisce about the past and speculate about the future.
“We talked all of the time,” Worrell said. “Generally when we talked over the phone, at the end we’d say, ‘Check you later.’ But Friday, all he said to me was, ‘I’ll see you.’ And he hung up.”
Frederick Moore, of Atlanta, was found in his Atlanta home Monday, having died in his sleep over the weekend. He was 62.
A funeral is planned for 10 a.m. on Saturday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta. Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home, Historic West End Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.
In 1966, Moore was one of a handful of black students who were allowed to attend the previously all-white high school in Crawfordville, not quite 60 mile east of Augusta. One day, he heard Williams speak and the Atlanta activist took him under his wing, said Moore’s daughter, Velisa Thonrton.
“When he got a chance to see up close what Hosea Williams and Dr. King were doing, I think it sparked something in him,” she said. “He knew he wanted to do that work too.”
Moore left high school and moved to Atlanta so he could join in the work being done by the SCLC office. Thornton said her father always lived on or near Auburn Avenue, which was close to the SCLC and the hub of many movement activities.
“Every major march from 1968 on in Atlanta, Frederick was there,” said Dexter Wimbish, a former attorney for the SCLC. “He was even with us more recently in Gwinnett County when we marched to bring awareness of the unknown effects of Tasers. He’s just always been there.”
Worrell said he doesn’t think Moore ever considered doing anything else as a career.
“I think his joy was in the movement and it wasn’t a job at SCLC. It was a service,” said Worrell. “See, on a job, you work and you know how much you are going to get paid. In a service, you might get a stipend one week and a promise the next. You only do work like that when you feel the way about it that he felt about the movement and the SCLC.”
In addition to his daughter, Moore is survived by daughters, Veda Mapp of Lithonia, Takenya Smith of Siloam; a son, Larry Moore, of Oglethorpe; sisters, Karen Moore of Cincinnati and Henrietta and Pamela Moore, both of Crawfordville; brothers, Michael Moore, James Moore and Mark Moore, all of Cincinnati; and four grandchildren.