Cocoa City Council to Host ‘Centennial Celebration’ to Honor Harry T. Moore Center’s 100 Years
By Space Coast Daily // November 18, 2023
school was built in the heart of the African-American neighborhood in Cocoa
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – On a momentous occasion, Cocoa City Council and the Diamond Square Community Redevelopment Area Board are proud to host the Centennial Celebration for the Harry T. Moore Center in Cocoa on, December 2 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Attendees will park at Emma Jewel Charter Academy to watch a short video on the history of the Moore Building and then walk or catch a golf cart ride over to the Moore Building.
Once at the Moore Building, there will be tours of the Leon and Jewel Collins Museum of African American History and Culture, the Cocoa Police Athletic League’s Black History Photography exhibit, historical reenactments, food, entertainment, and more.
This year marks a century of educational excellence and community empowerment for the Harry T. Moore Building in Cocoa. Constructed in 1923, during a time of segregation, the building served as Cocoa’s Rosenwald School and was named Cocoa Junior High School, a school for African-American children in the Cocoa community and the only school that served black children at the time.
In 1947, 10th through 12th grades were added and the building was renamed Monroe High School. It is currently the oldest still-standing Rosenwald School in the State of Florida and the only one still standing in Brevard County.
The school was built in the heart of the African-American neighborhood in Cocoa and quickly became a focal point, hosting numerous community meetings and events.
For much of the community, this building has come to represent the significant accomplishments of Cocoa’s African-American community in the long struggle for educational equality. Generations of students have passed through its halls, forging a lasting legacy that has touched the lives of countless individuals and the entire Cocoa community.
When the building stopped being used as a public school in 1954, it was renamed after early civil rights activist, Harry T. Moore who taught at the school in 1925 for two years before becoming a principal in Titusville.
The building lay vacant until the 1980s and was renovated and used as a daycare facility and community center.
Then in 2014, the City of Cocoa acquired the property. In 2017 a portion of the building became the Leon and Jewel Collins Museum of African American History and Culture.
The museum houses significant artifacts and photographs from the surrounding community including a newly added exhibit on the Gilbert v. The Board of Education civil rights lawsuit where Mr. Gilbert, a principal at the school fought for equal pay for black and white teachers. There are also exhibits in the museum on Harry T. Moore, Rosa L. Jones, Zora Neale Hurston, and the original Highwaymen.
“The Centennial Celebration promises to be a remarkable event, filled with activities that pay homage to the school’s rich history and its profound influence on the city. It is a testament to the resilience, strength, and unwavering commitment to preserving and honoring our diverse and rich history here in Cocoa. Join us as we honor a century of excellence, as we come together to celebrate the remarkable journey of the Harry T. Moore Building which continues to inspire, educate, and uplift our community,” said Cocoa Mayor, Michael C. Blake.
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