The late George Moore was respected educator
Published 7:29 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2017
I was shocked, like so many have been, to learn of the recent death of Mr. George Moore. He served students, parents and the community as a counselor, assistant principal, principal and city councilman in LaGrange.
I met Mr. Moore in his capacity as the counselor for the old East Depot High School. He was highly regarded and respected by students as well as their parents. This was during the tumultuous 1960s — a time when many students inculcated a behavior that required them to be submissive to a governmental system that devalued them as humans. This was a period when too many students did not believe that the sky was the limit, with respect to their future endeavors. In LaGrange, graduating students would transition into employment with the textile mills and other companies only requiring manual labor. Those who went on to college typically secured degrees in education and became teachers. To others, graduation from high school couldn’t come fast enough. They wanted to leave the south the day they received their high school diploma.
Mr. Moore was what we needed at East Depot during the ‘60s. He was a role model and consummate counselor to us as students. He demanded respect and gave respect to students. In addressing a student, he always referred to them as Mr. or Miss. He would encourage students to always listen to the news — the world was changing fast into a place that would not define a person because of the color of their skin.
During this period it was not uncommon for the superintendent to visit and address our student body several times throughout the year. I remember vividly, as do other students who attended East Depot, how the superintendent would go to great lengths to pretend he couldn’t pronounce the word “Negro.” In the face of this ignominy, we were expected to applaud our own denigration. Mr. Moore was too dignified to address the insults — he encouraged students to be greater and better because tomorrow would be a better day.
Mr. Moore was what the LaGrange school system needed during the segregated 1960s and as the schools integrated. A former student of his, Mr. Andrew Moody, a retired military officer who lives in LaGrange, stated that Mr. Moore was his mentor.
Mr. Moody went on to say that Mr. Moore’s actions and positive attitude toward students (especially blacks) probably prevented major confrontations from occurring between black and white students as the schools transitioned into integration. Mr. Moody stated that Mr. Moore was not loud or intimidating as an educator to students — everyone knew, however, that in his calm demeanor, he meant business.
We are going to miss you Mr. Moore.
You can rest in heaven knowing that you positively impacted the lives of many students who did go on to do great things with their lives.
Dr. Glenn Dowell is an author and columnist who currently lives in Jonesboro, Georgia. He has been a guest speaker on major college campuses including having appeared on TV programs such as the Oprah Winfrey Show. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org