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Baltimore Mailman, Marching for Civil Rights, Killed in Alabama Ambush

Apr. 23, 1963 - A 35-year-old Baltimore mailman was shot and killed today while hiking to Mississippi to urge Governor Ross Barnett to accept desegregation. The body of William Lewis Moore (pictured), a white man who had pledged to use his vacation to protest segregation in Mississippi, where he had grown up, was found by a passing motorist lying in a ditch in Keener, Alabama. He had been shot twice in the head at close range with a .22 caliber rifle. A letter to Mr. Barnett, asking the Governor to “be gracious and give more than is immediately demanded of you,” was found in his pocket. Authorities said that Mr. Moore also carried a billboard sign over his shoulders advocating civil rights. On one side were the words: “Eat at Joe’s, both black and white.” When the body was found, the word “black” had been ripped off the sign. On the other side was inscribed: “Equal rights for all — Mississippi or bust.” Just prior to his death, Mr. Moore was interviewed by Charlie Hicks, a reporter from radio station WGAD in Gadsden, Ala., as he walked along a rural stretch of U.S. Highway 11. The station had received an anonymous phone tip about Mr. Moore’s location. In the interview, Mr. Moore said: “I intend to walk right up to the governor's mansion in Mississippi and ring his doorbell. Then I'll hand him my letter.” Concerned for Mr. Moore’s safety, Mr. Hicks had offered to drive him to a motel. Mr. Moore insisted on continuing his march.


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