Jean Campbell Moore, 92, of Lansdowne, an educator, social-work administrator, and radio-show host, died Friday, April 24, of pneumonia at Bryn Mawr Hospital. She had lived at Sunrise of Haverford for the last three years.
Born and raised in Harlem, she was the daughter of Hugh and Theodora Campbell, immigrants from Jamaica.
At age 16, she graduated from New York’s High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, a school for the gifted.
“My parents made it understood that my brother and I would excel in school,” she was quoted as saying in a 2012 online profile on WRTI.org. “My mother registered us in what she considered the best school even though it was out of our school district in a predominantly white area, and we had to walk very far to get there.
“And we both were sent to a community musical school where he excelled in violin, and I studied piano.”
Dr. Moore majored in social work at Hunter College, an all-female tuition-free school in New York.
“Even the books were free,” she said. “I would not have been able to attend college otherwise.” In her senior year, she studied radio broadcasting, which would come in handy later. She also noted the college’s progressive stance on social justice issues.
While an NAACP student delegate riding by train to an annual meeting, she was told to sit in the segregated section. With that, her consciousness was raised.
“I became involved in many proactive organizations that included interracial and interreligious dialogue,” she said. “I led a 700-person march of the Intercollegiate Unity Council on Albany to promote educational access for all races.”
The only black professor at Hunter suggested that she enroll in Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work. She did so, and with the help of a fellowship and a scholarship, earned a master’s degree in social work.
In 1951, she met a Philadelphia-based medical photographer named Robert Moore Jr. They married and had two children. Later, she earned a doctoral degree in education from Temple University.
She began a 17-year career in social work and administration with the Children’s Services Inc., Veterans Administration, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, and then with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Moores lived in Philadelphia but longed for a house on a winding lane in the suburbs. In 1959, they bought a house in Lansdowne and became the first black family in the neighborhood.
“It was hard to get a Realtor to show them listings,” said the couple’s son, Robert. Once in place, the couple received hate mail. Several families didn’t want their children to play with the Moore children. One family moved away.
“With time, many positive neighborhood relationships were established,” Robert Moore said. Today, the neighborhood is racially integrated.
In 1969, Dr. Moore was recruited by Temple University as an associate professor. She started a program, New Career Ladders, for nontraditional students who had an interest in social work. She also served as director of program development in Temple’s Office of Research and Development.
At the request of the Pennsylvania chancellor of higher education, Dr. Moore then became an assistant to the president of Cheyney University working to ensure the college’s accreditation in 1985.
After leaving Cheyney in 1991, she became vice president of institutional advancement at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a historically black college.
Starting at age 65, she was host and executive producer of her own radio show, University Forum, broadcast on WRTI-FM (90.1) Temple radio. It aired for 15 years on Saturdays. She interviewed experts on social issues, but her favorite subjects were the Tuskegee Airmen and Isaac Hayes, writer of the musical score for the 1971 film Shaft.
The show, which won wide acclaim, was broadcast across the United States and through Radio for Peace International. It received eight awards in 15 years from the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.
“I do a lot of research. Also, I am kind to my interviewees. I’m not interested in sensationalism,” she said in her online profile.
Dr. Moore admired her colleagues. She supported her family and was a mentor to many.
Her husband died in 2009. Besides her son, she is survived by a daughter, Doreen Moore Closson; three grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.