A lifetime of achievement for Acel Moore

When Acel Moore joined the staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1962, the rewrite guys called the white copy boys by their names and called him “Boy.” Acel didn’t appreciate being called a name that his mother hadn’t given him.

“I stood my ground by not answering to what was not my name – and took the fellow aside who yelled “Boy” loudest and most frequently,” Acel said. “I told him, quietly and privately, that calling a black man boy was a classic, racist insult and if he said it again that night, I would meet him after work and we could discuss it outside. When he sobered up, and thought about what I said, the behavior stopped.”

Acel receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from NABJ.

Acel told that story to an audience of his peers, friends, admirers and well-wishers at the National Association of Black Journalists’ “Salute to Excellence” gala last weekend. The organization he and 43 others founded in 1975 honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Progress has certainly been made, Acel said, noting that 2,500 people had come to Philadelphia to attend this year’s convention. That was a far cry from the 100 or fewer journalists who worked at the nation’s 1,800 newspapers back then.

“That so many young people aspire to the profession – even in these tough times – testifies to both the importance of journalism to democracy and the passion of our children to continue what my dear friend and NABJ founder the late Reggie Bryant called ‘the pursuit of truth,'” he said.

He noted that the struggle to get to this point has been an uphill battle – not much unlike his own challenge of regaining his mobility through physical therapy. Acel is in a wheelchair as a result of back surgery and works with a physical therapist several times a week.

You can read the complete speech and a Philadelphia Inquirer story about him receiving the award. You can view photos of Acel below at the convention. Please click on the first photo to start the gallery.

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