Michael Eric Dyson’s Black History Month All Stars

All-Star #13: Carolyn Davenport Moore

Over the last several years in Philadelphia, we have witnessed the erection of the first monument to a Black man in our city, abolitionist Octavius Catto; the first mural to a legal and civic giant, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.; a community effort to rename a street from Taney — named for the Supreme Court justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision — for Caroline LeCount, Philly’s own Rosa Parks; and a school renamed from racist president Andrew Jackson to former slave-turned-educator Fanny Coppin Jackson.

Like these people, to me, the All Stars are the everyday folks who are doing the heavy lifting for their race and culture: Teachers, sanitation workers, people who work the traffic lights and run nurseries — both for kids and for your grass — the people who are clerks in local stores. They are the preachers who reach masses of people on a daily basis; the writers whose praises don’t get as well-sung as they should; the social activists who are out there trying to make a better life for us even when we don’t understand what’s at stake.

These are the people Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to as the “ground crew without whose labor and sacrifices the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth.”


Carolyn Davenport Moore


Carolyn Davenport Moore



Carolyn Davenport Moore was the executive secretary for Philadelphia’s NAACP,  credited with transforming the organization from an exclusive social club to a mass activist association. She also advocated for labor rights for Black employees within the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC). 

Moore, in response to the PTC’s refusal to hire Black men and women to higher-paying positions, organized an effort alongside Black churches, ward leaders, and union representatives to put an end to their discriminatory hiring practices. 


  • Responsible for fully integrating the PTC

Read more about Moore: The Encyclopedia  of Greater Philadelphia, “Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC) Strike”

Reporting by Aly Kerrigan and Ethan Young.

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