Was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1882 and came to London in 1904 to study medicine at Kings College.? Despite being an excellent student and the recipient of many prizes – Moody found it difficult to get both work and lodgings.
Eventually he set up his own successful practice in Peckham where he met and married an English nurse.
A devout Christian he was elected to the chair of the Colonial Missionary Society’s board of directors in 1921 and was also involved in other philanthropic bodies. He used his position to assist black people who sought his help and advise. Having experienced difficulties in finding work and lodgings moody could easily relate to their hardships.
Due to the escalating amount of cases he was dealing with there became a need to create a formal organisation to shoulder the workload. On the 13th of March 1931 in the central YMCA, Tottenham court Rd, ‘The League of Coloured Peoples ‘was formed, Moody served as its president from its birth to its demise.
Despite being heavily criticised by more militant pressure groups the League never claimed to be a radical organisation.
Its aims were clearly set out in its quarterly magazine ‘The keys’.
1)To promote and protect the social, educational, economic and political interests of its members
2) To interest members in the welfare of coloured peoples in all parts of the world.
3)To improve relations between the races.
4)To operate and affiliate with organisations sympathetic to coloured people.
5)To render such financial assistance to coloured people in distress as lies within our capacity.
After the beginning of WWII, radicals and the league collaborated in pursuing the question of the colour bar in the British Armed Forces, and in Particular Commissions for Black servicemen and Women.
Following public and Private meetings the Colonial Office declared on the 19th of October 1939, that, ‘British Subjects from the Colonies, and British Protected persons in this Country , including those who are not of European origin are now eligible for emergency Commissions in his Majesty’s forces’.
To Moody this was a piecemeal offering , and he demanded ‘That if this principle is accepted now, surely it must be acceptable all the time !’- Two of Moody’s children rose to the rank of Major.
Moody also showed great affection for the children of Britain’s Black Community – He organised annual trips to Epsom Downs, and gave them a Christmas party every year.
By 1943 the league had reached the peak of it’s influence as a pressure group, (Fryer,p332) Moody had been precise in his speeches and believed in his convictions . Even though the younger radicals branded him an ‘Uncle Tom’ He was successful in his methods. After a five month visit to the USA Moody returned, a sick man. Ten days later he was dead.the League survived him by just Four years.
Untold Lives – Harold Moody