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‘Queen Mother’ Moore; black nationalist leader

Associated Press, 5 May 1996

NEW YORK - Audley "Queen Mother" Moore, an outspoken civil rights leader and black nationalist who befriended leaders from Marcus Garvey to Nelson Mandela, has died. She was 98.

Queen Mother Moore died Friday in a Brooklyn nursing home, said Carol A. Baugh, a spokeswoman for the Henry W. Payne Inc. Funeral Directors.

Queen Mother Moore was a hero in Harlem and a familiar figure to historians. She had become the elder stateswoman of black nationalism.

One of her last public appearances was at the Million Man March in October 1995, where she appeared on stage with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others.

She was born in New Iberia, La., on July 27,1898. Both parents died by the time she was in fourth grade, so she dropped out of school and by age 15 became a hairdresser.

A few years later, Queen Mother Moore's life changed when she heard a speech in New Orleans by Garvey, a Jamaican immigrant known as the "Black Moses" who founded a back-to-Africa movement.

Inspired by Garvey's talk of African culture and pride, she moved to Harlem and became a leader of his Universal Negro Improvement Association. Garvey's movement collapsed when he was deported in 1927 after serving two years in prison for mail fraud.

But Queen Mother Moore's path was set. A powerful speaker and organizer, she linked herself over the next 60 years to causes that ranged the political spectrum - always working outside the civil rights mainstream.

Former Mayor David N. Dinkins, the city's first black mayor who grew up in Harlem, said Queen Mother Moore was "an inspiration to a lot of blacks, especially black women. She was always supportive and inspirational to me. She was always in my corner."

Taking the first of many trips to Africa in 1972, she was given the honorary title "Queen Mother" of an Ashanti tribe in Ghana, which became her informal name in the United States. She attended the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa, according to her family.