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Cecily Moore Banks, Cecil B. Moore's daughter speaks in honor of her father.
Cecily Moore Banks, Cecil B. Moore's daughter speaks in honor of her father. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News

Honoring the legacy of Cecil B. Moore

The prominent North Philadelphia defense attorney, civil rights leader and social activist was honored on what would've been his 104th birthday. 

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In celebration of what would have been his 104th birthday, SEPTA honored Cecil B. Moore at Cecil B. Moore Station on Tuesday.

“We are excited for the unveiling of historical panels that depict the life and legacy of a quality warrior,” SEPTA general manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel, said.

Display panel highlighting the early life of Cecil B. Moore. Photo by Jensen Toussaint

Display panel highlighting the life's work of Cecil B. Moore. Photo by Jensen Toussaint

The defense attorney and civil rights leader was one of the most prominent people throughout North Philadelphia’s history.

Cecil B. Moore’s legacy includes being one of the first African Americans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as President of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, and city council, as well. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment was desegrating Girard College in 1968.

“He was a champion for the underserved and underprivileged, during a tumultuous time in Philadelphia and American history,” Knueppel added.

Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta said Cecil B. Moore played a key role in changing the course of history.

“When you think about the history of North Philadelphia, Cecil B. Moore is part and parcel to it,” he said. “When you think about the history of black elected officials in Philadelphia, you have to think about Cecil B. Moore.”

Still a North Philadelphia resident, Cecil B. Moore’s daughter Cecily Banks Moore, showed a great deal of appreciation and gratitude for the displays and the impact they will have on ensuring her father’s work and legacy will be remembered.

“For me, this is not only a way of recognizing an individual,” she said. “I think personally that ensuring that the history not only of what he did, but the history of what happened in north central Philadelphia and continues to happen… knowing that those who walk by, those who use the SEPTA station, those who live here, those who work here will have a permanent record of what occurred, and how important it was.”

The former Columbia Avenue was renamed Cecil B. Moore Avenue in 1987, while the Broad Street Line station was renamed in 1995.

Pennsylvania State Senator Sharif Street recalled that day. He also highlighted the fact that his father, John Street, succeeded Cecil B. Moore in the 5th District Council seat.

“Cecil B. Moore set the bar for what it meant to be a leader in North Philadelphia, and what it meant to be an African American leader in Philadelphia,” he said.

The Philadelphia Freedom Fighters were instrumental in working with SEPTA in making sure the display panels were made and unveiling in celebration of Cecil B. Moore's birthday.

“We want to do more here," said Karen Asper-Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Freedom Fighters. "We want to make this place a place of history. We want people—no matter which side of the subway they’re coming from—that they’ll see a history down there."

Cecil B. Moore’s legacy is one that is recognized throughout various parts of North Philadelphia, and these new historical panels will allow both North Philadelphia residents and passersby to learn more about his work.

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