By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:9)
“When wishing won’t, work will.” – Carlton Moore
If you attended the Home Going Service for Carlton Moore on Monday, you understood very quickly that Carlton Moore was a lot of things to a lot of people. Some of what he was we already knew; father, husband, friend, leader, politician, Christian. We knew much of that.
But many of us may not have known just how deeply Carlton had inspired so many people. And how that inspiration gave those folks a desire to look beyond where they were at one moment in time to that moment when they could become more and do more. From leaving a life of crime to moving into a life of community service, from believing in someone that no one else believed in, from teaching the value of friendship to teaching the necessity of work to make dreams come true, people gave their testimony of what Carlton had inspired them to understand.
He helped change many lives. As one friend said, Carlton believed in “more”. It was his belief in “more” that drove his determination to get Black people better city services, better public education, more opportunities for economic development along the Sistrunk Corridor, more political representation on city councils and county commissions. He was all about getting us “more.”
I don’t mean “us” in the provincial sense. While Carlton loved Fort Lauderdale and Broward County, he didn’t allow his vision to be restrained by city limits or county lines; his concern for Black people was inclusive of all Black people in all places. Especially those Black people who were poor, overlooked in their needs for a decent life and poorly educated.
Like all leaders, there were and remain those who faulted what he did and how he did it.
There were those who pointed out what they saw as his shortcomings and like all men he had some. But whenever those inadequacies were indicated to me, I would say, “Well maybe, but all I know is that anything I’ve asked Carlton to help me with, he has and he never made me a promise he didn’t keep.” I’m sure I’m not alone in that company.
I believe Carlton gave all he had to enhance his community and gave it the best that he knew how; I believe that he kept looking for opportunities to give more and serve more and I believe he did so unrelentingly. I may not have always agreed with what or how he did what he did but I always agreed with his intent; which was to serve.
For those looking for his legacy, all they have to do is take note of the number of Black politicians in positions of influence all over Broward County. Carlton had much to do with that. Not necessarily with directing campaigns or things of that nature but with being the example of what resolve and purpose can accomplish; of refusing to believe that where one started is where one remains and of what can be gained when clearly understanding what wishing won’t, work will. He will be missed.