Romulus Moore

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The Rev. Romulus Moore was born a slave in Taliaferro County, Ga., in January of 1818. He was reared in the family of James Moore (white) and educated with Moore’s children. Through his education, the Rev. Moore purchased his own freedom.

By all accounts, the Rev. Moore was a wild young man until 1860, when he met and married a Miss Mary Elenor Horton, a Christian woman. Once married, he changed his ways. In 1862, he was converted and joined the Baptist Church (white) in Thomson, Ga. Upon conversion, the Rev. Moore began preaching.

His wife’s employer, Mrs. Thomas Hamilton, heard him preach and she was so struck his gift that she asked her pastor to license Romulus Moore to the ministry. In 1867, he was ordained to the ministry by the Rev. Henry Johnson, of Augusta, Ga., and accepted the pastorate of the Poplar Head Baptist Church in Dearing, Ga.

In 1868, the Rev. Moore was elected as one of the first African American legislators to the Georgia State Assembly in Atlanta. (At this time, Thomson was in Columbia County. It was not until 1870 that McDuffie County was created from Columbia and Warren Counties.) The Rev. Moore relocated to Atlanta as a Representative of Columbia County. While in Atlanta, he was associated with the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, now the Wheat Street Baptist Church, and its pastor, the Rev. Andrew Jackson.

The Rev. Moore’s legacy as one of the first African American men elected under reconstruction and as a member of the Constitutional Committee makes him among the founding fathers of the civil rights movement. He is listed with several Georgia legislators in the United States Congressional Record as having petitioned the U.S. Congress to ratify the 15th amendment granting the right to vote and thereby hold office to people of color.

His constitutional committee went on to request that the United States Supreme Court uphold the 15th amendment, and the Rev. Moore is listed with Alonzo Ransier in upholding the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Bill of 1875.

In the record of the 100 Year Centennial Celebration of the First African Baptist Church, the Reverend E.G. Dwelle of Augusta listed Romulus Moore as a pioneer of the civil rights movement. The Rev. Moore was listed among the leaders of the African Baptist Church that started the Augusta Institute, which became Morehouse College; the Spelman Institute, which became Spelman College; and Atlanta University.

In 1976, Romulus Moore was honored by the Black Caucus of the Georgia General Assembly with a statue that depicts the rise of African American politicians. It is on display at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta.

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