Time is a fascinating subject. A relative term that confines existence. When looking through the stories from the collection, I was immediately drawn to the stark contrast of intricate timepieces on a simple dark background, with the title “A Moment Captured in Time.”
The story that followed the click to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the two watches turned immediately to a haunting reminder that time does not start or stop for any human.
The watches belonged to the NAACP’s field secretary for Florida in 1951, Harry Tyson Moore, and his wife, Harriette. Although both watches symbolize a very important moment in both of their lives, the solemnity attached to Mr. Moore’s watch imposed a story that deserves to be shared.
Following the link to the story, the first sentence is, “On Christmas Day, 1951, the NAACP’s field secretary for Florida Harry Tyson Moore, and his wife, Harriette, were murdered” (NMAAHC, 2017).
“You would never have known, by looking at it, that it had survived a bomb blast” (Ibid). A bomb blast that immediately killed Harry Moore and eventually killed Harriette Moore. Time survived, Mr. and Mrs. Moore did not.
This pocket watch is not the only object left to tell to the story of Civil Rights activist Harry Moore, but it is one of the more personal and humanizing reminders of the day to day life Moore experienced.
Donated by his youngest daughter, Juanita Evangeline Moore, who survived the Christmas Day bomb blast, this object is part of the Moore Collection at NMAAHC, and is currently on display in the Defining Freedom, Defining Freedom: The Era of Segregation, 1876-1968. The watch is both a physical and emotional connection to “a man who died half a century ago. It is a way to reach through time and experience this man’s courage and the violence perpetrated against him for that courage” (Ibid).
I have always been fascinated by the intricate mechanics that go into even the simplest and plainest looking watches, and even more so fascinated by the concept of time. Watches are objects that humans plan and live their lives according to. They are physical representations of the fleeting nature of life. They embody an innate desire for structure and the ability to change. All in one object that could fit in your pocket. For Harry Moore’s watch, the watch contains a never-ending story of courage that forcefully and brazenly ended too soon. Initially being drawn to the physical appearance, the object solidified its impact through the tragic story of its owner.
(2013, October 09). We Plants Are Happy Plants – Apollo. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S9q-phYxmI
NMAAHC (2017, February 16). A Moment Captured in Time. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/collection/moment-captured-time