The audience at the recent Orlando Urban Film Festival (OUFF) gave rave reviews for Before Selma: The Harry T. Moore Story – The Martyr Who Paved The Way For The Civil Rights Movement film directed by Dr. Florence Alexander, during her first venture as a filmmaker. The OUFF Grand Jury selected the film for the Phenomenal Woman in Film Award category.
The 5th Annual Competition was held at the AMC Universal Studio in Orlando Florida during the Festival founded and directed by Marianne Eggleston. The docudrama winning film was based on the true story of Harry T. Moore, The First Martyr Who Paved the Way for the Civil Rights Movement. The book and script were written by Dr. Florence Alexander.
Harry T. Moore, a devoted educator, led the struggle for justice and freedom for all people during an extremely dangerous time in the Deep South. The major contributions in his human rights struggle included (1) equalizing the salaries of Negro and white teachers in Florida, (2) winning courtroom battles to allow Negroes to register in the Florida Democratic Primary, (3) investigating lynchings, alleged rapings and burnings of persons of various races and religions, (4) organizing 63 NAACP Florida chapters and (5) registering 116,000 Floridian Negroes to vote.
Harry T. Moore’s accomplishments occurred during the time when he and his family, consisting of his wife and two daughters, faced death threats from racists including members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). His struggles and successes from 1930 to 1951 predated the civil rights events of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcom X.
In 1951, Harry T. Moore and his wife Harriette gave the ultimate sacrifice when they were killed by a bomb that exploded beneath their bedroom Christmas night. No murderers were ever convicted even though it was suspected that White Supremists were involved in their deaths. Harry T. Moore was posthumously awarded the NAACP Spingarn Metal in 1952.
In the film Before Selma: The Harry T. Moore Story – The Martyr Who Paved The Way For The Civil Rights Movement, the character of Harry T. Moore was played by Curtis John, a former educator. Michelle Fitzpatrick, a former law enforcement officer, played the role of Harriette. OUFF awarded $5,000 to the Director of the Phenomenal Woman in Film Award; the category sponsored by Greenlight Business Solutions, Inc., New York, New York.