PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – SEPTA remembered a hero on Tuesday. The public transportation authority honored Philadelphia civil rights leader Cecil B. Moore on what would have been his 104th birthday.
It was a celebration of the life and legacy of North Philadelphia’s own at, fittingly, the SEPTA Broad Street Line station that was renamed in honor of the civil rights leader in 1995.
“Cecil B. Moore changed the history of Philadelphia,” Pennsylvania Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, of the 181st District, said.
SEPTA unveiled another display – historical panels chronicling Moore’s storied life and the indelible mark he made in Philadelphia. There are also digital displays on the southbound side of the Broad Street Line station with displays of Moore’s history.
“Today is especially important in the life of Mr. Moore as it would have been his 104th birthday,” SEPTA general manager Jeffrey Knueppel said. “He marched to integrate on prestigious Girard College as he believed equal education was paramount on the road of success for youth, especially African-American youth.”
Moore’s daughter, Cecily Moore-Banks, extended her heartfelt gratitude.
Moore-Banks still lives in the North Philadelphia community where her father fought for freedom and justice during the civil rights movement.
It’s a history that’s etched into her memory and now those commuters and anyone walking by these plaques can learn more about her father’s contributions.
“For me 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,” she said.
Karen Jasper-Jordan knows firsthand what it was like, walking alongside Cecil B. Moore with the Philadelphia Freedom Fighters.
“When we met Cecil, we were only like 17 years old, 16-17, we believed. We believed in him,” Jasper-Jordan said. “We believe in his message. We did not care about going to jail. We didn’t care about getting beat.”
“If we were arrested we went back the same day,” she added, “because we knew we had the best lawyer in the United States of America.”
Cecil B. Moore was a skilled and fierce lawyer, an NAACP leader and a civil rights activist whose legacy continues to live on.