Celebrating Cecil B. Moore

We’ve all passed Cecil B. Moore Avenue on our way to the Fresh Grocer or TUF.

We’ve certainly all gotten on and off the Septa at the Cecil B. Moore station.

Hey, maybe even some of us live on Cecil B. Moore.

However, when it comes to knowing who Cecil B. Moore is, many of us probably fall short. Being Temple students, it’s important to educate ourselves on Moore, as he was a prominent civil rights leader in Philadelphia during the mid-1900s. In fact, Moore was a notable activist who sculpted life for African Americans today.

So, you’re probably not a Cecil B. Moore expert yet -- but with a little more information, you’ll fully understand why this man has an entire neighborhood named after him.

Where did he come from?

Born in 1915, Cecil Bassett Moore was born into a middle-class, West Virginia family. He attended Bluefield College in Virginia, but his education did not end there.

Why did he come to Philadelphia?

After serving in the Marine Corps in World War II, he moved to Philadelphia in 1948, where he began studying law at Temple University (Go Owls!). Fast forward five years, and Moore had earned his law degree and quickly became a decorated defense attorney. Most of his work centered around civil rights, as he was quick to speak for many African American lower-class people.

So, what next?

Moore was unhappy with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and their apparent inability to help the working class and lower class citizens. Instead of complaining, Moore did what he knew best -- he took action. In 1962, Moore decided to run for president of NAACP. In his campaign, he advocated for equality for lower income black citizens within labor unions, including a wider range of job and education opportunities.

Campaigns and Protests

Desegregating Philly was one of Moore’s main goals as NAACP President, as he formed many picketing campaigns at places such as construction sites and bus terminals.

One of Moore’s most famous picketing campaigns occurred at Girard College, where he guided a protest for seven months to desegregate Girard College. Come 1968, Moore and the protesters were victorious.


After 63 years, the decorated civil rights activist died in 1979 from cardiac arrest. However, the city of Philadelphia is not forgetting about Moore any time soon. Moore’s name can be seen all over in the area surrounding Temple University, such as the Cecil B. Moore Septa station and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, which is a section of Columbia Avenue.

As TU students and current Philadelphia residents, it’s vital that we understand the history of the area that we call home. Cecil B. Moore showcases just how much us owls can accomplish with hard work and motivation.

After this article, I hope that everyone can see Moore for who he truly was: a defense attorney, an activist -- and most importantly -- a brave leader. Cecil B. Moore is an inspiration that we can celebrate not only during Black History Month, but all the time. To read more about Cecil B. Moore, check out PhilaPlace.org, or visit a local library (if you’re still into physical books and stuff).

Source: PhilaPlace.org