A report from News Americas Now.
Google Doodle UK on Tuesday, Sept. 1st, paid tribute to famed Caribbean-born, Briton and racial equality campaigner and physician Dr. Harold Moody.
Dr. Moody, who was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1882, was the founder of the UK’s first civil rights movement. He migrated to the UK in 1904 and studied medicine at King’s College London, finishing top of his class when he qualified in 1910 at 28.
He was then being refused a medical appointment because of his race and so established his own GP practice in King’s Road, Peckham in 1913. In March 1931, he formed and became president of the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP), which was concerned with racial equality and civil rights in Britain and elsewhere in the world. Its first members included C. L. R. James, Jomo Kenyatta, Una Marson, and Paul Robeson.
Dr. Moody also campaigned against racial prejudice in the armed forces, and is credited with overturning the Special Restriction Order (or Coloured Seamen’s Act) of 1925, a discriminatory measure that sought to provide subsidies to merchant shipping employing only British nationals and required alien seamen (many of whom had served the United Kingdom during the First World War) to register with their local police.
In 1933, he became involved in the Coloured Men’s Institute, founded by Kamal Chunchie as a religious, social and welfare centre for sailors. Having become a respected and influential doctor in Peckham, Dr. Moody was very involved in organizing the local community during the Second World War. Historian Stephen Bourne has noted: “In 1944 there was a terrible bombing in south London and he was the first doctor on the scene. He played an important role in these events, saving many lives. Yet this wartime history is not known.”
In the last months of his life, he undertook a speaking tour of North America. He died at his home at 164 Queen’s Road, Peckham, in 1947, aged 64, after contracting influenza.
“Even though he qualified to practice medicine, finished top of his class, and won numerous academic prizes, he was repeatedly refused work due to the color bar system that denied people opportunities based on race,” explained a Goodle Doodle blog post on Moody.
“Thank you, Dr. Moody, for paving the way towards a more equal future,” the Google Doodle blog post concluded.
The Google Doodle celebration of Dr. Moody comes on the heels of the company’s spotlight on Alexandre Dumas Père, a descendant of a Haitian slave.