By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Temple University recently made over the Cecil B. Moore SEPTA stop on the Broad Street line to include more TU branding both inside and outside of the subway. But the change has upset some community residents.
“You’re going to put something up there without even discussing it– I felt disrespected,” says Karen Jordan, president of the Cecil B. Moore Freedom Fighters.
The group works to keep alive the legacy of the late civil rights leader. They lobbied and were successful in getting a mosaic that honors their namesake installed at the station in 2013. But when they discovered large cherry and white Temple University signage plastered all over the Cecil B. Moore stop a couple of weeks ago, they were outraged.
“That is Cecil B. Moore station, it’s not Temple Station,” says Jordan. “His memory is being disrespected.”
Christine Brown began posting photos of the new Temple University banners on Facebook. Community residents soon posted comments and more photos, with some feeling the branding went too far.
“It gives the sense that there is no longer a Cecil B. Moore station,” says Brown. “I went several times and the signage has not been removed and I can’t get a clear answer from anyone on why it was done.”
Temple University announced last month it was “enhancing” its branding at the Cecil B. Moore station. The makeover includes enhanced Temple lettering inside and outside the station, including on the head house and elevators.
“This is a misunderstanding,” says Beverly Coleman of Temple University’s Community Relations department. “Signage that would make Cecil B. Moore more prominent has not been installed yet.”
Coleman says Temple University plans to install an updated, more prominent display that commemorates the life of Cecil B. Moore, who is known for his work to integrate Girard College. The timing on when that will get done is still up in the air, but Coleman says Temple does not intend to re-name the station.
“That station is the Cecil B. Moore station on the Broad Street Line and it will always be,” says Jerri Williams, spokesperson for SEPTA. She says the agency has a good relationship with the Cecil B. Moore Freedom Fighters and they’re working set up a meeting that includes Temple University.
“This is something that we can work out so no one feels that the legacy of Cecil B. Moore is being disrespected,” says Williams, “but also so that Temple can have it’s branding.”
Jordan says the dispute is personal. She met Moore when she was 16 years old and marched with him for weeks to integrate Girard College.
She says Septa and/or Temple should have contacted the Freedom Fighters before they installed the new signage, given their struggle to keep his name prominent at the station over the years.
“They say they have something in mind for Cecil B. Moore – why not put it up? Why not call us,” she says. “People think they can do anything they want for us without us saying anything – they know what they did wasn’t right.”
Jordan says they plan to fight for their name sake, but they are also willing to meet to with Septa and Temple to quell the dispute.
“This is about Cecil B. Moore and his legacy,” says Jordan. “We know how easy it is to forget.”