FORT LAUDERDALE — Roosevelt Walters disagreed with everything Carlton Moore said at a 1978 NAACP town hall meeting dealing with community issues. Moore’s response to Walters: “Join the NAACP and change things.”
Walters and Moore became a team, effecting change for people of color in the local community and even on the national stage. The former Fort Lauderdale city commissioner died at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, succumbing to a stroke he suffered Christmas Day. He was 60.
“We worked together as a team from ’78 until he could no longer serve the community,” Walters said Wednesday, his voice cracking. “We were a team at NAACP and we continued to be a team when he became commissioner. If it wasn’t for Carlton, I would still be trying to change the world by myself.”
Moore was president of the NAACP when the rule changed in 1988 to elect Fort Lauderdale city commissioners by districts instead of the at-large system. Moore, at the time, saw district representation as a victory for the black community. He was elected to serve the District III seat in the predominantly black northwest Fort Lauderdale area on March 15, 1988, remaining in office until 2008.
Moore’s good friend Gerie Freeman-Russell recalls printing fliers and otherwise helping out during his re-election campaigns. She did it because “he was a wonderful son and a great father.”
Freeman-Russell met Moore, a “typical, mischievous boy,” when he was 12 or 13. Most people don’t know how passionate the Harley Davidson-riding Moore was. “He was passionate about the city; he wanted so much for Fort Lauderdale to succeed. And he was passionate about his family,” she said.
Bobby DuBose, the current District III city commissioner, considered Moore much more than an elected official.
“He was a father to many of us in the northwest community,” DuBose said. “I remember him as the president of the NAACP when I was in the Youth Council. He was always a leader and encouraged many of us who are currently serving as elected officials to be leaders and not just any leader but a leader with integrity, grit and a true sense of wanting to make our community and city a better place for everyone. His voice, passion and dedication to the northwest will be missed. Our hearts are heavy and we will continue to pray for his family during difficult times.”
Florida Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, described Moore as “a mentor, a friend and, above all, a surrogate father for me.”
“We first began working together when he was the president of the Fort Lauderdale branch of the NAACP,” Smith recalled. “My mom was the secretary and I was very active in the organization’s Youth Council. He taught me the values of hard work, dedication and commitment to my community.
“Carlton is wholly responsible for my political career. One year out of Florida State University law school, he appointed me to the city of Fort Lauderdale Planning and Zoning Board. He convinced me to run for the Florida House of Representatives and remained a constant political and personal advisor to me.
“Fort Lauderdale is a better place because of the tireless work he did as NAACP president to bring economic and social justice to the city. From downtown development to beautification and revitalization of Sistrunk Boulevard, his legacy will forever stand as one of the finest commissioners ever to have served our community.”
Moore, a Tampa native, also worked as vice president of Consulting Services for McKinley Financial Services Inc., a black-owned insurance company based in Fort Lauderdale.
In a tribute to the former commissioner, the city of Fort Lauderdale issued a statement detailing his initiatives and praising his 20 years of service. The statement said he was instrumental in the creation and development of the Northwest Progresso Flagler Heights Community Redevelopment Agency (NWCRA).
“His forward thinking laid the groundwork for much of the revitalization and economic investment taking place today along historic Sistrunk Boulevard and in surrounding areas,” the city’s statement said.
Moore’s efforts led to the development and building of the Seventh Avenue Family Health Center, the U.S. Post Office on Avenue of the Arts, a chamber of commerce building on Sistrunk Boulevard and a $550 million water and sewer project for Fort Lauderdale.
Moore also spearheaded passage of a $40 million fire safety bond which funded the construction of new fire stations throughout Fort Lauderdale, including two in his district.
“His commitment to affordable housing for all citizens motivated Moore to work tirelessly for the construction of several modern housing facilities throughout the Northwest that complimented the area and allowed residents access to universal amenities,” the statement said.
Until his recent illness, Moore remained very active in the community, serving on the Fort Lauderdale Community Development Corporation Board, the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Community Housing and the NAACP.
Viewing is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Sunday at Roy Mizell and Kurtz Funeral Home, 1305 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Funeral services are set for 1 p.m. Monday at Harris Chapel United Methodist Church, 2351 NW 26th St., Fort Lauderdale, to be followed by cremation.