By Oscar Miller
The Acel Moore legacy continues to grow.
Three years after his death at age 75, the man, his life, and his work remain powerful and instructive, and their impact is expanding each day.
Moore, who was a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at the Inquirer, was among four honorees receiving the Philadelphia Legacy Award at a gala in Germantown on Sept. 30.
Also honored were Trudy Haynes, the first African American newscaster in Philadelphia; Dick Allen, the first African American superstar for the Phillies; and Tina Sloan Green, the first African American lacrosse coach who led Temple to 11 NCAA Final Fours.
“All of this year’s legacy winners were trailblazers who represent a time in Philadelphia history that has been transformed through their fortitude and leadership,” said Stephen C. Satell, founder and director of Philadelphia Legacy in a statement. “Acel Moore started as a copy boy at the Inquirer and became one of four black reporters.
“Acel Moore perfected his craft and became a steady stream of integrity flowing through our city. We miss him as well as we need him,” Satell noted.
Satell said the idea for Philadelphia Legacy was born out of a need to showcase the city in a broader way. He wanted to promote historic sites in the neighborhoods such as locations used by the Underground Railroad and the House of Umoja.
He also wanted to honor people who made major contributions to Philadelphia with portraits that will remind us of their wisdom and the important things they learned along the way.
“We wanted to create a positive atmosphere where diverse people can come together and talk about problems we as a city face today,” Satell said. “We also wanted to raise money for nonprofits that work with the homeless, veterans, and the arts.”
The third annual dinner on Sept. 30 raised $15,000 that will go toward those efforts, according to Satell.
The Legacy award in many respects embodies the ideals of Moore, who devoted much of his career to advance diversity and inclusion in journalism.
At the peak of his career, Moore couldn’t enter a room without being greeted by well-wishers, including many who over the years had found themselves roasting from the heat of one of his columns. But most of those well-wishers were genuinely fond of a native son from South Philly who rose up from a copy boy to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1977.
“The Legacy Awards event was warm and inspirational, and I know Acel would be proud to be included,” said Linda Wright Moore, his widow, in a statement. “He’d also be delighted to know how many people appreciate and recall his work and contributions to Philadelphia.
“I really respect and appreciate Steve Satell’s passion and commitment to keeping the stories of outstanding Philadelphians alive, sharing those stories with young people – and fund-raising to support nonprofit leaders in the community,” said Wright Moore, a former Daily News columnist. “Ensuring that the folks who came before them and made a difference in the city are remembered is essential to both inspire and guide future generations.”
During a long and distinguished career, Moore left an indelible mark on journalism. Perhaps his most enduring legacy is the high school journalism workshop that bears his name.
He founded the program in 1985 as part of his lifelong commitment to open journalism careers to multicultural high school students in the Philadelphia area. Over the years, hundreds of students have participated in the program. Many have taken jobs in the media; others have used the skills they learned to build successful careers in other fields.
>>READ MORE: Workshop wins national award for its efforts in promoting diversity.
“For me, the occasion was made more memorable because people who knew and loved Acel were in attendance,” said Wright Moore in her statement. “NABJ president Sarah Glover, one of his favorite proteges, was there, along with Mike Days [vice president/diversity and inclusion, Philadelphia Media Network]; Joe Blake [formerly of the Daily News and Inquirer]; and Oscar Miller [assistant sports editor and program director], who has worked so hard to keep the Acel Moore High School Journalism Workshop going and growing.”
Each recipient was honored with a portrait at the awards dinner. Moore’s was created by artist Raphael Tiberino. Tiberino comes from a prominent art family in Philadelphia. Both his mother, Ellen, and father, Joe, established themselves as artists in the city more than 50 years ago.“The portrait of Acel by Raphael Tiberino was beautiful,” said Wright Moore.
Said Satell: “I thank Raphael for representing Acel so well in his artist craft.”
Past Legacy Award winners include former Temple basketball coach John Chaney; Charles Blockson, historian, author, and curator; Queen Mother Falaka Fattah, founder of the House of Umoja; and Ruth Wright Hayre, the first African American woman to be president of the Philadelphia School Board.