IN 1965, Mel Dorn was a 21-year-old husband and father who had just gotten fired from his job as a spot-welder after 29 days.

"The manager told me I was the best worker he'd ever had," said Dorn.

But the company's owner didn't want to pay the union wages required if welders worked for 30 days or longer.

"I was so mad, I wanted to do something before I blew up," Dorn, now 67, said this week.

That anger led Dorn - the same day he was fired - to join a protest that famed civil-rights activist Cecil B. Moore was leading outside a bar that had refused to allow a black truck driver to make deliveries.

Moore's name is revered in North Philadelphia, Dorn said, but recently, he and other members of the Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters noticed that both SEPTA and the city have used "C.B. Moore" on buses and street signs instead of spelling out Moore's name.

By abbreviating Moore's name, Dorn said, they are slighting his memory. "We will not allow them to kill his legacy," he said.

Dorn said activists fought to get a portion of Columbia Avenue renamed to Cecil B. Moore Avenue more than 20 years ago. "We had to fight for the name change," Dorn said. "It wasn't no overnight thing."The Freedom Fighters are scheduled to meet with SEPTA officials Wednesday.

Spokeswoman Jerri Williams said the name was shortened on the lighted panel on the front of buses to make their destinations more visible.

"We did this as a service for our passengers," Williams said. "The last thing we wanted to do was to give the impression we were being disrespectful of Cecil B. Moore."

On Tuesday, Mark McDonald, Mayor Nutter's spokesman, said some street signs were changed to "C.B. Moore" in error.

He said a field inspector who checks for damaged or missing street signs wrote the name down in shorthand, and six signs were printed incorrectly.

"They will be corrected in a few weeks," McDonald said.

Contact Valerie Russ at 215-854-5987 or