Audley Moore was the daughter of parents Ella and St. Cry Moore who were the children of former slaves. Moore’s Grandmother Nora Henry was born into slavery and was the product of her mother being raped by her enslaver. Moore’s grandfather was lynched leaving her grandmother to raise five children on her own. Audley Moore was born on July 27th, 1898 in New Iberia, Louisiana, where both of her parents would die before she graduated the fourth grade. She would become her family’s primary caretaker; she learned how to become a hairdresser by the age of fifteen to bring home money. By 1918 she was working as a volunteer nurse in mist of an influenza outbreak; during World War I she and her sisters worked in Anniston, Alabama to help create what she called the “Black USO,” it was created to help provide medical care and services for black soldiers. During the early 1920’s while traveling the country she learned that racism was engrained into the culture of the United Sates, it was not just the culture of the southern states.
After returning to Louisiana she would experience a life changing moment, she was able to hear the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey speak about black unity and collective black empowerment. Hearing the words of Garvey would lead to her becoming a member and eventually a leader of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Moore along with her husband and her sisters would move to Harlem, New York during the early 1920’s, this was around the time she became active in the civil rights movement. Despite being arrested multiple times, she organized and fought for domestic workers in the Bronx and helped black tenants fight against white slum lords. In 1931 she participated in a march to Harlem along with the Communist party to advocate for justice for the Scottsboro Boys. She would later become a member of the Communist Party as well as a member of the International Labor Defense. As a member of the Communist Party Moore became the party’s representative for the New York State assembly in 1938 and Alderman in 1940.
Queen Mother Moore was determined to make a difference for her people, so she became a member of the National Association for Colored women and the National Council of Negro Women. But by the 1950’s she ended her relationship with the Communist Party because it no longer supported self-determination for African-Americans. Her next step was to become a cofounder the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women, which was an anti-lynching group that also fought for the rights of African-Americans on welfare and in prison. In 1957 Moore would present a petition supporting reparations, land and self-determination against genocide, to the United Nations. She would also present a second petition to the UN in 1959. In her petition she asked for a monetary sum of $200 Billion and a returning of any African people who wanted to return to the African continent. In 1963 she would form the Reparations Committee of Descendants of U.S. Slaves to further her demands for reparations. She would publish her analysis of reparations titled Why Reparations? Reparations Is the Battle Cry for the Economic and Social Freedom of More than 25 Million Descendants of American Slaves. Moore created a detailed analysis of why African people deserve reparations and how reparations can be paid out to the descendants of enslaved Africans.
Moore was able to point to times in recent history where disenfranchised people have been paid reparations for their oppression. She was even able to provide information proving that the United States recently paid reparations to Japanese Americans for the oppression they suffered at the hands of America. Queen Mother Moore became well known for her international fight for reparations for African people. She was also known for her saying; “Reparations. Reparations. Keep on. Keep on. We’ve got to win.” Moore was able to mobilize enough people to gain over 1 Million signatures and present them to President Kennedy on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. During the 1960’s Moore was instrumental in the creation of the Republic of New Africa’s Independent Charter as one of the first signers of the documents. This charter would help create five independent African states which would also help in the process of creating independent African nations. She would travel extensively throughout the African continent during the late 1960’s and the 1970’s. She was often invited to these nations by their leaders because they revered her work. During an Ashanti naming ceremony in Ghana Audley Moore officially became “Queen Mother” Audley Moore. Her first act as Queen Mother was to help found the Eloise Moore College of African Studies, Vocational, and Industrial School in Parksville, New York. Queen Mother Moore would die in May of 1997, but before her death she was present for Nelson Mandela’s visit to the U.S. in 1990, and was one of the five female speakers at the Million Man March in 1995. She was a woman on a mission to free her people and didn’t allow anything to stop her. She spent the remainder of her adult life fighting for reparations and the rights of African people. Queen Mother Audley Moore, we proudly, proudly stand on your shoulders.
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