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February 13, 2016

Pioneering Philly journalist and NABJ founder Acel Moore dies

Former Inquirer reporter and editor paved way for black journalists

Obituaries Journalism
Acel Moore National Association of Black Journalists/Source

Acel Moore.

Acel Moore, a celebrated Philadelphia journalist who was known not only for his reporting acumen but for his impact on how race was covered in the city, died Friday. He was 75.

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), an organization which Moore helped found, announced his death Saturday.

Moore, who began as a copy clerk at the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1962, went on to become the newspaper's first black reporter, pushing for the paper to hire more minorities and cover race in a way that properly reflected the community. 

He won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the abuse of patients at the Farview State Hospital in Waymart, Pa. and eventually retired from the paper in 2005. He still held the title of associate editor emeritus when he died.

"Moore left us a wonderful legacy as a humanitarian, truth seeker, fighter for equal opportunity and trailblazer who opened doors for countless journalists, especially those of color,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover in a statement.

In addition to his accomplishments as a journalist with the paper, Moore helped found the NABJ as well as the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

He actively tried getting young black journalists into the field throughout his career and established several scholarship programs to do so.

His wife, Linda Wright Moore, told the Associated Press that he was most proud of a high school minority journalism program he launched.

Several former and current Inquirer staff members who worked with Moore remembered his legacy in an obituary Saturday.

The paper's current editor, Bill Marimow, recalled the incredible talent Moore showcased in his work:

"Acel Moore knew Philadelphia like the back of his hand," said Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow, who worked with him for 20 years. "He had sources in every nook and cranny of the community, from West Philadelphia to North Philadelphia to South Philadelphia – and the police department, the fire department and the mayor's office.

"Having grown up here and worked here all his life, he had the trust and respect of the people he covered the colleagues he worked with, and the leaders of the city, of which he was one."

In addition to his wife, Moore is survived by two children, son Acel Jr. and daughter Mariah, according to the Inquirer.