News Americas, Fri. Feb. 4, 2023: Today we spotlight on another black Caribbean immigrant who was also one of the earliest advocates of the term African American, as opposed to Negro or “black.”


Richard Benjamin Moore was a Barbados-born Afro-Caribbean civil rights activist, writer and prominent socialist.

Richard Benjamin Moore was a Barbados-born Afro-Caribbean civil rights activist, writer and prominent socialist. Moore migrated to the United States and arrived in New York City on July, 4, 1909. However, Moore would not become a naturalized citizen until September 11, 1924.

Although African Americans were free in the United States, they were far from being treated equal to European-Americans. Moore was immediately faced with ethnic discrimination when it came to employment and educational opportunities. Although trained in Barbados to do clerical work, he was forced to turn to other jobs such as an elevator operator and work in a silk manufacturing firm.

The struggles that Moore encountered and observed made him become a strong advocate for the rights of African Americans. In 1919, he joined the African Blood Brotherhood (ABB), which was an organization formed to defend African Americans from race riots and lynching. Moore, along with other African American advocates, joined the Socialist Party in the early 1920s. Moore also joined the Socialist Party, partly because the Socialist Party was then transforming itself into a force to fight against segregation.

Moore was a frequent political candidate of the Communist Party. In 1928 he ran for the US Congress in New York’s 21st congressional district In 1934, Moore ran on the Socialist ticket for Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. In 1935, he became the organizer for the International Labor Defense in the New England Territory.

He also played a leading role in Caribbean advocacy groups. Moore also ran the Frederick Douglass Book Center in Harlem. He wrote a few books himself, including The Name “Negro”: Its Origin and Evil Use (1960) and Caribs, Cannibals and Human Relations (1972). He also had essays and articles published in various magazines and journals, including the Negro Champion, Daily Worker, and Freedomways. Moore died in his homeland of Barbados in 1978, at the age of 85.

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