Harold Arundel Moody
8 October 1882
|Died||24 April 1947 (aged 64)|
|Alma mater||King's College London|
|Occupation||Physician, civil rights activist|
|Known for||Founder of the League of Coloured Peoples|
|Spouse(s)||Olive Mable Tranter|
|Relatives||Ludlow Moody (brother);|
Ronald Moody (brother)
Harold Arundel Moody (8 October 1882 – 24 April 1947) was a Jamaican-born physician who emigrated to the United Kingdom, where he campaigned against racial prejudice and established the League of Coloured Peoples in 1931 with the support of the Quakers.
Harold Moody was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1882, the son of pharmacist Charles Ernest Moody and his wife Christina Emmeline Ellis. He completed his secondary education at Wolmer's Schools In 1904, he sailed to the United Kingdom to study medicine at King's College London, finishing top of his class when he qualified in 1910, aged 28. Having been refused work because of his colour, he started his own medical practice in Peckham, south-east London, in February 1913.
In March 1931, Moody 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.
He 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. Many black and Asian British nationals had no proof of identity and were made redundant. In 1933, he became involved in the Coloured Men's Institute, founded by Kamal Chunchie as a religious, social and welfare centre for sailors.
A devout Christian, Moody was active in the Congregational Union, the Colonial Missionary Society (of which he became chair of the board of directors in 1920) and later was appointed president of the Christian Endeavour Union (1936).
Having become a respected and influential doctor in Peckham, Moody was very involved in organising 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.
He married Olive Mable Tranter,with whom he worked at the Royal Eye Hospital in London, and they had six children. Charles Arundel Moody, Harold's son, became the second black commissioned officer in the British Army in 1940, rising to the rank of colonel. Another son Harold Moody was a British shot putter.
His brother, Ludlow, also studied medicine at King's College London and won the Huxley Prize for physiology. Ludlow married Vera Manley and they moved to the Caribbean. Another brother was the sculptor Ronald Moody.
The book Negro Victory: The life story of Dr Harold Moody, by David A. Vaughan, was published in 1950.
A short silent animation (by Jason Young) about his married life was produced in 1998, entitled The Story of Dr. Harold Moody.
Moody is named on the list of "100 Great Black Britons".
On 13 March 2019, a Nubian Jak Community Trust commemorative blue plaque was unveiled outside the YMCA Club at Tottenham Court Road, where the League of Coloured Peoples was founded at a meeting 88 years earlier.
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