SEPTA re-dedicated its Cecil B. Moore Station to its namesake Cecil B. Moore and his legacy Monday morning. At the ceremony, SEPTA unveiled a new mosaic honoring Moore and a plaque explaining his lifework and accomplishments. Both will be installed in the station this week.
The mosaic, designed by local artist Jonathan Mandell, commemorates the work Moore did for the city and the country. It shows Moore in the courtroom, shaking hands with Martin Luther King, Jr., serving in the Marines during World War II, and leading a rally at Girard College, where Moore and his supporters successfully campaigned for the desegregation of that historic Philadelphia institution.
The Cecil B. Moore Station was first dedicated in 1995 and is one of SEPTA’s busiest stations with more than 7,500 riders passing through daily. The station provides access to Temple University, where Moore earned his law degree and where Mandell said he found abundant information on Moore and his accomplishments. The mosaic and the commemorative plaque will be installed in a non-paid area of the station so that both SEPTA riders and the general public will be able to view the artwork.
Congressman Chaka Fattah commended SEPTA for this art installation and re-dedication.
“It’s not just that we want the trains to run on time… We also want [the system] to be meaningful and reflect the diversity of our great community,” he said.
The ceremony included spiritual songs, and afterward, Congressman Fattah joked that that was appropriate. He said Moore “was spiritual, but he was also a hell raiser” when it came to agitating and organizing against injustice.
Two of Moore’s daughters spoke and teased that their father “might have been a tad happier with a little less gray.”
His daughters thanked SEPTA and stressed the importance of this piece in preserving their father’s legacy for future generations.
The future generations are who the Cecil B. Moore Freedom Fighters had in mind when the group organized with Moore to, among other things, desegregate Girard College.
“It was a battle,” said one Freedom Fighter at Monday’s dedication. “We were teenagers at the time, [but] we didn’t look at ourselves. We did this for the kids coming behind us.”
Another said that if every young person had a Cecil B. Moore in his or her life, we would have a greater city and a greater country.