Federal Writers' Project - Life Histories/2016/Spring/Section 021/Arthur J Moore
|Arthur J. Moore|
|Born||November 24, 1889 |
|Died||August 7, 1947|
Arthur J. Moore was an African American laundromat presser and was interviewed by Cora Bennett for the Federal Writer’s Project.
Arthur J. Moore was born in Camp Polk, North Carolina on November 24th, 1889. He was born into a working class family and had 15 siblings; 5 sisters and 10 brothers. Moore said in an interview in 1937 that “among 16 children, I didn’t really have a chance.” All of his brothers moved out of North Carolina when they became adults. His father, Dave D. Moore was from Mississippi and his mother, Mary Irwin from Alabama.  His family owned a small farm in Camp Polk. In 1904, Moore started grade school which was held in two sessions during a year; one session in the summer and one in the winter. Moore graduated high school and his education was comparable to that of a seventh grade white student.
Moore said that in 1907 he “attempted to become a tailor and attended college, but the trade was no longer offered so he decided not to pursue it.” He obtained a job at a local laundromat, earning $6 per week at a time when the average wages per week were $8.42. in 1914 he married Glendora, who soon gave birth to their first son, William. They moved back to Riverton, North Carolina in search for employment but could not find any jobs. In 1915, he moved back to Camp Polk with his parents and siblings and found a job as a presser in a laundromat, earning $9 a week which helped him support his young family. In 1918, Glendora had another son, Arthur, and in 1921 her youngest, John. William graduated high school, whereas John and Arthur Jr. did not. Arthur (Sr.) stated in an interview that 16 children was too much and that he was happy with 3. He also said that he didn’t “believe in that birth control stuff” because it was “bad for a person’s health.”
In the late 1920s Moore built an eight-room house for his family, but could not afford the costs of it. There were no federal loans at the time and no easy ways to support families with insurance. He decided to rent an apartment again in order to live a more relaxed life.
Moore enjoyed going to church, lodge and organization meetings late in his life. He died from coronary thrombosis on August 7, 1947 in Good Samaritan Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina. He said in an interview that his greatest hope was for his sons to take care of their mother when he passed.
Birth Control in the 1900’s
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was a lack of knowledge of proper birth control practices. Of the practices known, few were taken advantage of by the population. Women were advised to take a “quinine pill every four hours a few days before she menstruated,” to avoid pregnancy. Quinine is known to treat malaria and arthritis and has unknown effects on pregnancy and unborn children. It has side effects such as headaches, sweating, nausea as well as more serious effects such as blurred vision and low blood sugar. In this time period, birth control was not taken advantage of because of strong religious beliefs in sections of Christianity. On farms, especially those of African Americans, birth control was not used because "bigger families meant bigger work forces.”
In 1929-1931, prominent religious groups such as reform Jews, Unitarians and Universalists became more liberal with birth control practices. There was a decline in birth rates of educated classes and these religious groups believed there should be “more birth control among the poorer classes.” Most of these “early liberalizers” were in the Northeast region of North America. 
Segregation and Educational inequalities for African Americans
In the 1890’s, African Americans were “biologically inferior” to whites. The inequalities and discrimination in North Carolina caused 27,827 African Americans to flee the state at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Public schools were not established for African Americans until 1910- almost 50 years after slavery ended. Of those few schools established, the high school education was offered for a maximum of two years, whereas in white schools, it was a standard 4-year education. Students who graduated from these public schools had an education equivalent to that of a 12-year-old white student.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Jim Crow laws were put in place to create “separate but equal” facilities and schools for blacks and whites. African Americans continued to receive a lower quality education and had fewer opportunities to attend college and become professional/skilled workers.
“Blacks were less educated and economically dependent on whites and this made it harder for them to resist the Jim Crow Laws.”5 Desegregation did not occur until the 1960s with the Brown vs. Board of Education legal case.
- Federal Census Bureau. Year: 1940; Census Place: Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Roll: T627_2941; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 60-5.
- Lawrence, Sarah Raphael. On Their Own Terms African Americans and Birth Control in the Rural South, 1900-1942. 2007.
- Wilde, MJ, and S. Danielsen. 2014. Fewer and better children: Race, class, religion, and birth control reform in america.
- Homsby, Angela Mandee "Cast down but not out": Black manhood and racial uplift in North Carolina, 1900—1930”2003.
- Wadelington, Flora Hatley. "Segregation in the 1920s." Segregation. 2012.
- "Jim Crow Era A Painful Time." 2009.The Ledger, Feb 21.
Federal Census Bureau. Year: 1940; Census Place: Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Roll: T627_2941; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 60-5. Accessed March 3, 2016.
Lawrence, Sarah Raphael. On Their Own Terms African Americans and Birth Control in the Rural South, 1900-1942. 2007. Accessed March 13, 2016.
Wilde, MJ, and S. Danielsen. 2014. Fewer and better children: Race, class, religion, and birth control reform in america. Accessed March 12, 2016. American Journal of Sociology 119 (6): 1710-60.
Homsby, Angela Mandee "Cast down but not out": Black manhood and racial uplift in North Carolina, 1900—1930”2003. Accessed March 13, 2016.
Wadelington, Flora Hatley. "Segregation in the 1920s." Segregation. 2012. Accessed March 03, 2016. http://ncpedia.org/history/20th-Century/segregation-1920s.
"Jim Crow Era A Painful Time." 2009.The Ledger, Feb 21. Accessed March 15, 2016.http://libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/390197084?accountid=14244.
Ancestry®. Accessed March 14, 2016. http://www.ancestry.com/.
"Quinine Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing - WebMD." WebMD. Accessed March 14, 2016. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-869/quinine-oral/details.