Carl Moore ’68
Senior pastor, Allen Temple AME Church
As a 17-year-old college student in Montgomery, Ala., Carl Moore (B.M.E. ’68) found himself just three blocks away from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, a birthplace of the civil rights movement.
Weeks later he was on the steps of the state capitol, praying alongside Martin Luther King Jr.
Moore says he joined the civil rights movement because it sounded like “a lot of fun.” One day, Moore and his friends participated in a demonstration. Leaders of the march handed out signs and placards. Moore’s sign read, “It’s 1960, not 1860.”
Signs in hand, Moore and his friends marched.
“We hadn’t gone very far, within a block or so, before the police drove up and stopped us and said we were unlawfully marching and we were put in paddy wagons.”
They waited in jail until the Montgomery Improvement Association bailed them out. A judge found them guilty and fined them $165 each.
Moore says protesting never scared him until the day he marched with King.
“All of these white people were looking at us and chewing tobacco and calling us every name that they could,” he says. “It was like venom in the eyes. This was the only time that I felt vulnerable.”
That summer, Moore returned to Beloit, Ala., his hometown just outside of Selma. Because of his arrest during the demonstration, Moore was not allowed to return to his university that fall. His mother, fearing for his safety, put him on a train to Kansas City to live with relatives.
That fall, Moore enrolled at the University of Kansas City, now UMKC.
For several years, Moore went to school part-time while working full-time as a cartographer for the Army Corps of Engineers. When his employers tried to draft him into the Army, Moore quit his job and transferred to Central Missouri State, returning for his final year at UMKC in 1968.
Nine years after he first enrolled at UMKC, Moore graduated with his degree in musical education. He taught for several years at Lincoln High School in Kansas City, now Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, until a violent incident ended his teaching career.
“A little boy pulled a gun on me and threatened my life,” Moore says. “I didn’t even finish out the school year.”
Moore got a job training sales people at IBM, beginning a 25-year career with the company.
In 1984, Moore says he heard a message from God, telling him to preach the gospel.
“I said yes to him, and since that day, the work has been awesome,” Moore says. “I am in the work that I really firmly know the Lord has called me to do in life.”
Moore has been ministering full-time since 1994. Today, he is the pastor at Allen Temple AME Church in Woodstock, Georgia.
As a pastor, Moore says he uses all of the skills he’s developed over a lifetime of service.
“I get to use my teaching skills preparing sermons and giving lectures and convincing people by the word of God to accept him as their lord and savior,” Moore says. “I get to use all the experiences I had within IBM, within teaching, within my music and I utilize it even now.”