Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Ace

"Lazy, unintelligent, criminal - that's us. Persistent and pervasive, this view not only blames an entire group or race for the failures of a few. That would be idiotic enough. But it also blames blacks for the failures of a system that discriminates against them." Acel Moore

"Each person must live their life as a model for others." Rosa Parks

When you've been around a while, you take certain things for granted. You take certain people for granted too, especially if they've been around longer than you have. They become part of your personal landscape. When you lose them to death it's shocking and sad. When you lose them to retirement--particularly if forced, and caused by corporate greed--it can come as an even bigger shock.

Last month C. DeLores Tucker died. Last week Rosa Parks died. Now Acel Moore is leaving the Inquirer. Three major contributors to the civil rights movement in particular and to humanity in general. I don't mean to mess with Mr. Moore's mojo by grouping him with two who have left this world, but his retirement from the Inquirer is almost as disconcerting.

I worked for DeLores Tucker, a unique growth experience. Through DeLores, I worked with Miss Rosa Parks several times, a signal life experience. Also through DeLores, I knew Acel Moore. More important, I've been reading his work since he started writing for the Inquirer, an enlightening learning experience.

According to Dan Rubin of Blinq, Inquirer Editor Amanda Bennett had this to say about Acel Moore in an employee memo:

"As a member of our community, he has been both a voice for the powerless, and a sounding board for the powerful. As a journalist, he has been a role model. An icon in our industry, he has won just about every journalistic honor; a trusted colleague, he has been a valued adviser to every editor for four decades. This paper was a richer place for his presence."
I would add that Acel Moore has also served as a conscience for the Philadelphia community. An articulate, clarion voice for the African American--and humanistic--perspective, Philadelphia is a smarter place for his presence.

Acel Moore has been a Philadelphia institution for over 40 years. He spoke up and spoke out on controversial issues often considered too hot to handle. One grudging bravo to the Inquirer: they gave him a platform and let him speak. He poked holes in misconceptions and buffoons. He celebrated the achievements and decried the disappointments of his fellow human beings -- sometimes with humor, often with anger, but always with dignity ... and purpose.

Anyone who ever spent time with Acel Moore, or with his work, came away having seen another point of view and learned something valuable. He taught generations of people to recognize and appreciate the bigger picture beyond their own small worlds. Even with all his deserved awards, I have a feeling Acel Moore is proudest of that legacy.

Good luck, Ace. And thank you.

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