UPDATE: Flags lowered to honor Delaware civil rights leader

Flags flew at half-staff throughout New Castle County today in honor of the late Rev. Maurice J. Moyer, and will remain at half-staff through the end of Friday, the day of services for the 93-year-old.

Moyer, who died Tuesday, pastored the Community Presbyterian Church for more than 50 years and led the Delaware NAACP in the tumultuous 1960’s. He also founded the Maurice J. Moyer Academy in Wilmington.

At the suggestion of the Delaware Black Caucus, Gov. Markell is expanding his order regarding Delaware flags so that it will apply statewide.

“Our suggestion today was that, like the influence of Rev. Moyer which began locally and expanded beyond, the honor of the flags could do likewise,” said state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, a member of the black caucus.

“Flying the Delaware flag at half-staff is a sign of deepest respect rarely given and doing it statewide is even more so,” Gov. Markell said.

Yesterday, the governor ordered Delaware flags to fly at half-staff throughout New Castle County saying, “Few in their lives awaken as many hearts and minds, inspire as many to action or knit as strongly so many social bonds as Reverend Moyer,” Markell said. “I’m honored to have known him.”

Wilmington Mayor James Baker echoed Markell’s comments saying he joins thousands of Wilmington residents mourning Rev. Moyer.  “During his time on earth, he dedicated his efforts to the betterment of all people and to a greater understanding among all people, so that what unites us becomes far more important for the greater good that any of our differences.”

Baker worked with Moyer as a VISTA volunteer when the mayor first came to Wilmington in the mid-60’s. “He taught us to believe in the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and to do everything possible to not only uphold those documents, but most importantly what the documents represented.” Baker calls Moyer a visionary whose mission should be carried on.

Moyer was part of a documentary about African American education in Delaware. That film was produced by Hagley Museum and Library and was featured on WHYY’s First in February. Hagley also produced a short film about Moyer’s role as a civil rights activist. You can see that film below.

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