We were reading Christine Flowers’ column this morning, thinking maybe once we could get through it without spitting our coffee in rage. After all, she was writing in favor of letting 30th Street Station keep its name — an understandable stance — and waxing rhapsodic about “old” Philadelphia.
Cute, really. But then she did this:
I mean, who was Cecil B. Moore and what did he do with my subway stop? (And hold the emails, I actually do know who Cecil B. Moore was.)
For the love of God.
The second sentence doesn't actually help Flowers here, because it basically acknowledges the first sentence is a provocation. And what a needless provocation it is!
Just in case you're new to Philadelphia — or in case you've been here awhile and just haven't bothered to get to know the city — here's the basic knowledge on Cecil B. Moore, using the most-easily accessible resource available:
In 1947, after his discharge at Fort Mifflin, Moore moved to Philadelphia and studied Law at Temple University. He earned a reputation as a no-nonsense lawyer who fought on behalf of his mostly poor, African-American clients concentrated in North Philadelphia. From 1963 to 1967, he served as President of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP. He also served on the Philadelphia City Council.
Moore is best remembered for leading a picket against Girard College which led to the desegregation of that school. He was also a champion of a wide range of causes central to the Civil Rights Movement, including integration of schools and trade unions, and increased political and economic representation for poor African-Americans. He has been credited with helping to restore order after the unsettling vandalism and violence of the racially-charged Columbia Avenue riot of 1964. During his tenure, membership in the local NAACP chapter expanded from 7,000 in 1962 to more than 50,000 within a few years.
The Wikipedia article includes this fantastic quote from Moore on the militancy of his activism:
I was determined when I got back [from World War II combat] that what rights I didn't have I was going to take, using every weapon in the arsenal of democracy. After nine years in the Marine Corps, I don't intend to take another order from any son of a bitch that walks.
Hell yeah. He was controversial. He was probably very irritating to the establishment. But he wasn't inconsequential.
Anyway: Christine Flowers. We don't mess with her often, because we think that while she's usually wrong, she's probably usually sincere. The dig at a Philly civil rights here today, though, wasn't really necessary. It also wasn't out of character.