Charlie Crist invites great-grandson of Florida civil rights leaders as State of the Union guest
Image via AP.

Charlie Crist and Joe Biden
'I am hopeful that their work and achievements will someday be recognized and passed down to future generations.'

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has invited Darren Pagan, great-grandson of Florida civil rights leaders Harry and Harriette Moore, to be his virtual guest for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday.

The Moores were anti-segregationist activists in Brevard County during the Jim Crow era. They founded a local chapter of the NAACP and led the statewide Florida NAACP. The couple spoke out against racially motivated violence and lynching and fought for voting rights.

The Moores were assassinated by members of the Ku Klux Klan on Christmas night 1951 in their home. At the time of their death, Florida had the highest number of registered Black voters, exceeding all other Southern states.

Pagan is the grandson of the Moores’ daughter, Evangeline, who fought for justice for her parents’ murders until her death in 2015. He carries forward the message and legacy of his great-grandparents through his involvement in high school and collegiate mentorship and hopes to someday create a scholarship fund to honor his great-grandparents.

“I’m honored to be invited to the State of the Union, to share my story and my family’s legacy,” Pagan said in a statement. “My great-grandparents paid the ultimate price so all citizens of this country would have equal rights to education, to vote, and to be afforded equal representation in U.S. courts of law. At a time when states like my great-grandparents’ native Florida are trying to distort historical events, particularly in the teaching of African American History, I am hopeful that their work and achievements will someday be recognized and passed down to future generations.”

Crist’s relationship with the Moores stems back to his time as Florida Attorney General, when he reopened the investigation into the unsolved murders of the Moores and found that four deceased members of the Ku Klux Klan were responsible for their deaths. Crist has called upon the President to posthumously award Harry and Harriette Moore the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their lifelong advocacy for racial equity and their greater contribution to the civil rights movement.

“Floridians have long been inspired by the legacy of Harry and Harriette Moore, who faced down the evils of the Jim Crow South and responded with compassion, resolution, and great courage,” Crist said in a statement. “They gave their lives for freedom and justice for Black Floridians. I’m honored to have their great-grandson Darren join this year’s State of the Union to share his family’s legacy and celebrate their work.”

Members of Congress can invite guests to join them in the House Chamber for the address.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


One comment

  • Tom

    February 28, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    Maybe they can light the bridge together!
    That’s important.
    Camillion Crist will stoop to the lowest common denominator. Be careful with all the truckers Charlie.

Comments are closed.


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