Harold Moody

Harold Moody

Harold Moody, the eldest child of a retail chemist, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on 8th October, 1882. He moved to London in 1904 to study medicine at King's College. He encountered a great deal of prejudice. As well as finding difficulty finding accommodation, he was refused a post in a hospital because a matron "refused to have a coloured doctor working in the hospital". In February 1913, he started his own medical practice in Peckham.

A deeply religious man, Moody was chairman of the Colonial Missionary Society's board of directors and in 1931 president of the London Christian Endeavour Federation.

In March 1931 Harold Moody formed the League of Coloured Peoples. Members of the executive included Belfield Clark (Barbados), George Roberts (Trinidad), Samson Morris (Grenada), Robert Adams (British Guiana), and Desmond Buckle (Gold Coast).

The League of Coloured Peoples had four main aims: (1) To promote and protect the social, educational, economic and political interests. (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 cooperate and affiliate with organizations sympathetic to coloured people. To promote its objectives, the League of Coloured Peoples published a journal, The Keys.

Left-wing political groups criticised Moody as an "Uncle Tom" and under the control of his "imperialist masters". Moody was also attacked for his policy of refusing black people from Asia from joining the League of Coloured Peoples. Although he did allow white people to join. The organization remained small and by 1936 it only had 262 members. Of these, 178 were from Cardiff, whereas 99 were white.

During the Second World War Moody worked for the civil defence in Peckham. He also campaigned against racial prejudice in the armed forces. In October, 1939, the government announced: "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". Three of his sons, Arundel, Ronald and Garth received military commissions. Another two, Harold and Christine, worked during the war as doctors.

Harold Moody died on 24th April, 1947.