"Phila. Citizens favor King over Moore by a Landslide," 1965
Like a salmon swimming upstream, Cecil B. Moore, president of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP, attempted to over the weekend to battle the current of public opinion. But, unlike the salmon which usually succeeds, Moore was nearly drowned in a flood of criticism from his supporters. The NAACP chieftain finally submitted Sunday and came out in strong support of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his two-day visit to Philadelphia.
Only last Thursday, Cecil B. Moore had told the Tribune that Dr. King was an "unwitting tool of the white power structure." Moore had also called King's proposed visit to this city "a scheme to divide Philadelphia's Negro leadership." The NAACP chieftain had threatened "to run all over him and his followers" if Dr. King appeared at the Girard College site to join anti-segregation demonstrations there.
On Monday while newspapers were still on the stands carrying the story of Moore's denouncement of Dr. King, the NAACP leader suddenly made a complete turnabout, praising the famed integration leader and saying he would work with Dr. King "to achieve a spirit of unity in Philadelphia." Moore's associates privately called his capitulation a complete retraction in an effort to save face.
Moore appeared at a press conference for Dr. King at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel Monday afternoon and embraced the Negro leader, exchanging pats on the back with him.
"We can ill afford division among Negroes with the Ku Klux Klan meeting only 35 miles away," Moore remarked as he and Dr. King stood together at a microphone answering newsmen's questions.
This was a reference to a Klan rally near Wilmington on Saturday night.
At the Bellevue press conference, new reporters nearly succeeded in embarrassing Moore with questions regarding his earlier denouncement of Dr. King. Ironically, it was Dr. King who stepped in to save Moore by fending off one over-zealous television reporter.
The newsman pointedly asked Moore why he had denounced Dr. King earlier as a "tool of the white power structure." Moore denied saying unkind things about the minister. At this point the newsmen pulled an NAACP news release from his pocket and said it was signed by Moore and issued to all new…
Credit: Philadelphia Tribune, August 3, 1965.