James Stewart, one of the first eight African Americans hired as Philadelphia Transit Company trolley operators, receiving instruction from William Poisel, Philadelphia

Credit Line
John W. Mosley Photograph Collection, Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA

In the photograph at the lower left Mosley’s catches a curious expression and guarded gaze in the eyes of the black man being trained as a PTC trolley car driver.

Pictured at her desk meeting with a young man is Carolyn Davenport Moore, executive secretary for the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP. A small sign hanging on the bare wall above says: “PURCHASE NAACP Negro Soldier Christmas Seals Here.”

Moore was an activist who energized Philadelphia’s black community. She promoted the NAACP as an organization that for the first time, appealed to the interests of working-class black Americans. Moore was also the chief organizer of the campaign in protest of the Philadelphia Transportation Company’s (PTC) discriminatory policies not to promote black employees to drivers and other positions reserved for their white employees. She enlisted families, church communities, and labor groups to plan and lead peaceful marches challenging the PTC’s appalling policies and once told reporters her protestors would “throw a picket line around the PTC office…and keep it there until company executives decide to practice this democracy there has been so much talk about…We don’t intend to let up until colored men and women are given equal job opportunities.”

Moore’s request that the federal Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) intervene ultimately resulted in an executive order for the PTC to promote eight black employees to the position of motormen.

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