Black History Month: The military's role in Black History on the - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Black History Month: The military's role in Black History on the Coast

Christopher Moore went on to serve 30 years in the Air Force. (Photo Source: WLOX) Christopher Moore went on to serve 30 years in the Air Force. (Photo Source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Christopher Moore was sent to Keesler Air Force Base in 1955.

He went on to serve 30 years in the Air Force.

 While he was stationed at Keesler, Moore became a member of the Keesler Male Chorus and traveled all over the nation performing. "We were fortunate enough to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show," Moore said.

Moore continues singing today in a time much different time than when he first arrived on the Coast.

"The base was the first entity to integrate here on the Gulf Coast," said Moore. 

As integration moved into the Biloxi community, Moore, who is just two generations removed from slavery, climbed up the ladder and retired as Chief Master Sergeant.

He said you only have to look at his family to see the progress made.

"As I'm a grandson of former slaves and now my daughter is a full colonel in the U.S. Air Force," Moore said.

Verba Moore followed in her father's military footsteps and she was honored as a "Biloxian Made Good". She credits her dad for making her accomplishments possible.

"None of us have gotten where we are without someone else blazing the trail for us and we need to appreciate them while they're here," said Col. Verba Moore.

Verba understands the struggles her father overcame.

"When he was getting his performance reports they'd use the term promote along with peers, which was really code for he's a black man, don't worry about promoting him," Verba Moore said. "Once the system became objective with testing he moved up the ranks in a hurry and became a chief."

Now, Chris and Verba Moore want to continue telling their story so the next generation understands the changes that have come before and the work still ahead.

"We've made progress, we've got a long way to go, but we've made progress," Moore said.

More than 7,000 black servicemen were first stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in 1943. They served as pre-aviation cadets, radio operators, aviation technicians, bombardiers and aviation mechanics.

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