The famous American writer and journalist Ben Green, author of Finest kind and The soldier of fortune murders dedicated his book Before his time: the untold story of Harry T. Moore, America’s first civil rights martyr to the one of the prominent public activists for civil rights of African Americans, Harry Tyson Moore, who was killed with his wife, Harriette Vyda Simms Moore by American racists from Ku Klux Klan on Christmas night 1951. Ben Green is a real master of literary works. He is recognized as a Bread Loaf Fellow, one of the most valuable American literary institutions, for the Finest kind. The other his book The soldier of fortune murders served as the basis for a CBS ministers. Ben Green used real FBI documents of the murder. Harry Tyson Moore and his wife Harriette Vyda Simms Moore were African American teachers. It is the most human profession in the world. To teach people is a real gift. Many people study in teachers’ training institutions, but very few of them can become the real teacher. Harry Tyson Moore and his wife Harriette Vyda Simms Moore were the real American teachers. Harry Moore established the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Brevard County, Florida. He was among the first activists of the civil rights movement in Florida. Therefore, Harriette and Harry Moores were the first members of the civil rights movement, killed by Ku Klux Klan racists. Dozens of thousands African Americans were killed by various racial organizations in the United States in the 1950s, but among them was only one the most prominent leader of the civil rights movement. Unfortunately, Harry Moore was killed first because of his sufficient tribute to the movement. The deaths of Harry and Harriette Moores had repercussions in the United States and the United Nations Organization. Hundreds of thousands American citizens took to the streets demanding to make a close investigation of the crime. Hence, Ben Green depicted the whole tragedy of the American society, its problems with racial segregation and racial organizations lynching American leaders, who fought for the civic society.
Ben Green depicted a real fighter for civil rights of African Americans. Harry Moore gained equal salary for white and black teachers. Moreover, he registered 116 thousand of African American voters to take part in the future elections. Of course, it was a sufficient quantity of the American voters. Harry Moore was a real transformational leader, who could organize people for fighting for their rights. Unfortunately, Harry Moore lived in the South of the United States, and white racists did their best to kill him and his wife. Once, as a public activist, Harry Moore gained success to file an appeal against the decision for four African Americans convicted for a rape of a white woman. The local sheriff McCall, one of the leaders of the local organization of Ku Klux Klan did his best to deal shortly with the defendants. So, McCall took shots at two prisoners and killed one of them. This event attracted Moore’s attention. Therefore, McCall had every reason to kill Harry Moore because the teacher knew a lot of things about McCall’s racial activity and wanted Florida Governor to order an inquest.
The whole book is written like a detective story. The plot is very complicated. Readers are in suspense while reading about fifty pages. Moreover, Ben Green does not give the answer who committed the murders. The feel of incompleteness of the plot suggests that the problem was not solved, and it would be continued. The undeservedly forgotten names of Harry and Harriette Moores are connected with the new period of the struggle for the civic society in the United States. Although there were eleven murders of African Americans in Florida in 1951, the civil rights movement did not cease. It gave new strength to the public activists in their struggle. American civic society would not have been established without Harry Moore, his wife and dozens of thousands other activists for civil rights. Therefore, Martin Luther King, Elijah Muhammad, Medgar Evers, and other African American leaders headed the struggle. Finally, the afterwards of slavery in the United States were eliminated.
Sheriff Willis McCall took the special place in the book. He was born in 1910 in Florida. He worked in his farm, and soon McCall became an agricultural inspector. After that, McCall became a sheriff in Lake County. Willis McCall was a strong antagonist of color people. He arrested African American workers for the skin color, and not for the crime. It lasted up to 1949, when he arrested three African Americans, suspected for the rape of a white woman. It was a real event for a small town of Groveland in Florida. White people wanted the African Americans to be punished. All newspapers had a piece of information about the crime. Sheriff McCall is depicted as an instigator of the whites’ riots. He was happy to humiliate African Americans because considered them as inferior humans. Therefore, McCall considered as his duty to kill the suspects. In result, he killed one of the African Americans. The other suspect was wounded by McCall, and the man told the truth about the murderer, but nobody wanted to listen to him.
Ben Green depicts the false, hypocrisy, and antagonism of the American society of the last half of the 1940s. The United States of America along with its allies the United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union, and multiple warriors of the international Resistance movement defeated the fascist regime of Hitler and Mussolini in 1945, but racial segregation continued existing in America.
Moreover, the humiliation African Americans and crime against them were not considered as any manifestation of racial and ethnic intolerance similar to the fascist ideology. Ben Green supposed this idea when described the appearance of Willis McCall. The cold-blooded murderer of the African American suspect resembled the murderers of the hundreds of thousands of innocent unarmed civil people committed by German fascists four years before in Europe. Of course, German fascists did not consider themselves as criminals because peoples of other nations were inferior ones for them. McCall behaved the same way. So Green depicts the “strange fruit” of lynching on the Florida trees when Ku Klux Klan sheriffs killed African Americans in route for the court at night.
The most remarkable thing in the book is a memory of deeds of Harry Moore. Of course, the author should have mentioned more about Moore’s wife as his reliable friend in the struggle for the human rights of African Americans. At the same time, the earnest former schoolteacher did more than some politicians for gaining the real liberty for his race. Ben Green described Moore as a real fighter for his believing. When the NASAP did not want to support Moore in the Groveland case, he continued the struggle to justify the innocent African American men. Harry Moore refused to agree with the NAACP position to raise dues. Therefore, he remained alone in his struggle against white racists in the town of Groveland. Moore was a realist. He understood the whole danger of his further live in the town. Of course, Harry Moore could have given up, and nobody would blame him for it, but he decided to go through with it whatever would happen. He bought a gun and had it in the glove compartment.
Ben Green depicts relations in the Harry Moore’s family. Readers saw a very attentive father, husband, and son. Harry and Harriette Moores created a remarkable emotional atmosphere in their family. Ben Green described an ideal family, and readers are glowing with admiration while reading about Harry Moore family. At their last Christmas night, Harry and Harrietta celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They gave birth and raised two daughters. They lived difficult but interesting life. A lot of African Americans were grateful to Moores’ family for advice, help, and protection from white racist. Therefore, many people congratulated them on Christmas.
Ben Green describes the Moores to express more vivid the whole enormity of the offence. At that time, a wave of violence “The Florida Terror” gripped the state. A dozen of explosions took place in the town. The main targets were churches, synagogues, and residential districts of African Americans. Of course, the police could not find racists, committed such crimes because members and leaders of Ku Klux Klan were held very important positions in the town. At the same time, Harry Moore returned over 50 percent of African American voters into the election campaign. Therefore, a candidate, supported by African Americans would be a winner in the future election. It means that Ku Klux Klan would lose its special privilege. Moreover, some officials were deemed to be convicted of various crimes. Therefore, racists could do nothing but put some explosive under the bedroom. In result, a huge explosion broke out at the Christmas night in the small town of Groveland, and Harry with his wife Harrietta were killed.
African American society forced the police to make investigation under control of FBI. Ben Green found documents proved that FBI took the evidence of Joseph Neville Cox, the leader of the local Ku Klux Klan organization, and soon he committed suicide. During the whole investigation, nobody could be found as guilty for the explosion. Willis McCall, the former sheriff, did not admit guilt.
Although nobody was arrested, the sinister echo of the explosion at the Christmas night 1951 shocked the world. This murderer became a terrorist act of the world-shaking event. In North Korea, communists used the news for brainwashing of African American captives. The mass media of Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, Asia, Africa, and Latin America made the Christmas explosion in Florida as the front-page news. A Soviet and American ambassadors in the United Nations General Assembly discussed the news.
As Ben Green states, the most prominent African American leaders as Thurgood Marshall, Walter White, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Adam Clayton Powell, Jackie Robinson, and Langton Hughes led protests against racial segregation caused by the “most explosive bomb since Hiroshima,” as the Christmas explosion was called in the world’s newspapers. At the same time, local mass media in Florida translated the news as an ordinary event despite the hundreds of Americans protested in the streets of the place of the tragedy next day after the night explosion. Leaders of Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations celebrated Christmas Day in the town of Groveland despite the night huge explosion. At the same time, people knew that Harry and Harriette Moores were killed because of the Groveland case, and the local sheriff, Willis McCall was involved in that crime. Ben Green managed to depict the whole tragedy and states of affairs with racial segregation in Florida at that time. Moreover, ordinary African American citizens depicted by him as moral, honest, and human people, humiliated by white racists in their own Motherland. His truth about the life of African Americans, their struggle for human rights stirs up sympathy in the readers. It is a very interesting and useful book. It teaches readers how to become a real American citizen on the example of life a real American hero, Harry Moore.
Ben Green is one of the favorite American writers. His books are very truthful. Moreover, Ben Green has the skill to become an interesting collocutor, who describes events without embellishment, and at the same time he expresses his own attitude to the certain events and persons making his readers become more attentive to people, human, and wise. Ben Green is a real master of literary. His book Before his time: the untold story of Harry T. Moore, America’s first civil rights martyr describes a problem of racial segregation. Although the events took place in 1951, the problem with the racial segregation of African Americans exists nowadays. Racism is the dirtiest thing, which the humankind could invent. Nowadays, racism did not cease the existence. It can be expressed by committing incivility, indiscretion, and rudeness toward colored people. Especially it is shown in relations between young and old people. If American people forget such prominent leaders like John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Medgar Evers, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Moore, and many others, racism will appear again in its the most abhorrent shape. Ben Green proved this idea in his book. He strives to tell about life and struggle of the real American citizen, Harry Moore who was forgotten by contemporary Americans because nobody told about Moore and his family. The feeling of the incompleteness of the story makes the readers fall to thinking of the present lest the past never occur again. Therefore, the Ben Green’s book is one of the most interesting and actual contemporary American books to be worthy reading.