Georgia G. Moore (1864-1915), suffragist and educational reformer
This biosketch was written by Dr. Carol Mattingly, Professor Emerita of English at the University of Louisville. For her full project on “African American Women and Suffrage in Louisville,” visit https://arcg.is/1O8muW.
Georgia G. Moore was born in September 1864, somewhere in the state of Kentucky. She had at least one sister, Fannie Moore Northern, but neither of their death certificates lists the names of their parents, suggesting that perhaps they were orphans. Georgia first appears in the local press when she gave the alumnae address for the 1885 graduating class of the Louisville Colored High School (Central High). According to the Courier Journal, Moore “demanded recognition of the perseverance and success of her people and called upon graduates to make an effort while the day shone forth.” Moore was called the Phillis Wheatley of Kentucky, reading her own poetry at such occasions as Emancipation Day celebrations, where, according to newspaper reports she “brought down the house.”
Moore supported women’s causes as an active member and officer in the Citizen’s Lyceum and in her work with Baptist women’s organizations. She is one of the African America suffragists whose local public speaking on woman suffrage is recorded. In 1914 she, along with Edwina Thomas, debated attorneys W. H. Wright and Al A. Andrews on women’s right to vote, the two women supporting that right, the two men arguing against. The debate took place at the Western Colored Library before a crowd that “exceeded capacity.” The judges (two women and two men) declared the women winners unanimously, which was “greeted with tremendous applause of the large crowd.”
According to E.O. Holland, Superintendent of the Louisville Public Schools, Georgia G. Moore became “one of the best colored teachers in the city.” She held offices in the Louisville Teacher Institute and the State Teachers Association. In honor of her more than thirty years of distinguished teaching, the name of the South Louisville Colored School was changed at the request of the school’s students, parents and teachers to the Georgia Moore School a few years after her death.
Moore was actively involved in Nannie Burroughs’s National Training School. Although the Washington Bee reported her presence as a teacher of English and History on more than one occasion, Moore likely supported her friend, Burroughs, by teaching at the Training School during the summers or by training teachers there, as she is on record as teaching in the Louisville Colored Schools from 1893-1915. From 1913-1915, Moore taught at the Colored Special School for “incorrigible, retarded, and defective” students, grades two through eight, and reported success in returning most students to their home schools, where they adjusted well.
Moore was active in social reform work of Baptist Church women, representing Kentucky at the District Union of Baptist Women in 1915. In 1904, she spoke at a Red Cross rally with Mary Virginia Parrish and Nannie Burroughs concerning the need for a hospital for Black people in Louisville (Red Cross was the name given the African American Hospital in Louisville; African American physicians and nurses were not allowed to practice at other local hospitals. The hospital was not connected to the American Red Cross.). Although themselves workers in the Baptist church, the women worked across denominations, speaking at the Plymouth Congregationalist Church, probably at the request of Bertha and Dr. E. D. Whedbee. The Whedbees, members of Plymouth Congregationalist, led the drive to establish the hospital.
Georgia Moore died of heart failure in November 1915 at her home at 1325 W. Madison Street, where she had long boarded with Maria and Susie Henry. The two sisters were close to Moore in age; Susie Henry was also a public schoolteacher. In her will, Moore left her estate, amounting to $2,000, to the Henrys. Having dedicated her life to “lifting the race” through her teaching and social reform work, Georgia Moore never married or had children. Leaving her estate to the Henrys indicated that they were in fact her family and had “provided her with all the comforts of home.” Her sister, Fannie Northern, attempted to contest the will but withdrew her claim, perhaps in acknowledgement of that fact.
Georgia Moore is buried in Eastern Cemetery in the plot purchased by the Ladies Union Band Society.
- American Baptist: 13 September 1904.
- Cleveland Gazette: 24 November 1888.
- [Louisville] Courier Journal: 12 June 1885; 15 June 1912; 4 November 1915; 11 January 1916; 8 January 1910; 14 June 1903; 7 Nov 1915; 8 November 1915.
- [Indianapolis] Freeman: 6 January 1906; 19 April 1906; 6 July 1906; 12 January 1907; 9 October 1909; 25 June 1910; 6 August 1910; 3 December 1910.
- Georgia G. Moore Death Record, 8 Nov 1915.
- Fannie Northern Death Record, 14 October 1924.
- Georgia G. Moore personnel file, Jefferson County Public Schools Archives.
- U. S. Census, 1900-1970.
- Washington Bee: 6 April 1912; 13 April 1912; 7 February 1914; 28 August 1915.
- Georgia G. Moore
- Louisville KY
- Jefferson County KY
- women's suffrage
- Nannie Helen Burroughs
- Red Cross Hospital
- Mary V. Cook-Parrish
- Eastern Cemetery
- black clubwomen
- Ladies Union Band Society
- special education
- African American History / Studies
- Black Women's history
- black women's labor