The Murder of William Moore


Used with permission of The Baltimore Sun Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

The body of William L. Moore, 35, was found on U.S. Highway 11 near Attalla, Alabama, on April 23, 1963. Moore, a white man, had completed 70 miles of his one-man civil rights march from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, to ask Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett to support integration. He wore signs that stated: “End Segregation in America, Eat at Joe’s-Both Black and White” and “Equal Rights For All (Mississippi or Bust).”

Moore, a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), had staged lone protests in the past, walking to Annapolis, Maryland, from his home in Baltimore, and marching to the White House.

Moore was interviewed by a reporter for a local radio station in Gadsden, Alabama. Less than an hour later, a passing motorist found his body. He had been shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle belonging to Floyd Simpson, a white Alabamian. Simpson was arrested but never indicted for Moore’s murder. When activists from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and CORE attempted to finish Moore’s march using the same route, they were beaten and arrested by Alabama State Troopers.