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Honor thy Mother and Father: Isiah Henri Harrison Moor Memorial Lecture

Isiah Henry Harrison Moore Bow tie

Have you ever heard of my great grandfather, Isiah Henri Harrison Moor? Probably not, but I’m here to change that. Some say “if you don’t know where you come from you don’t know where your going”, others say “you don’t know who you are if you don’t know whom you are from”.

The last 10 years or so of my life I became much more acquainted with my family heritage and history, but also to the living presence of my ancestors. On May 12th, Lord willing, I will begin a series of memorial lectures honoring those that went before me.

For now, here is some info on my great grandfather, Isiah Henri Harrison Moor the second Dean at the Bible College, College of scriptures in Louisville , Kentucky.

College of the Scriptures

[IMG]  Isaiah Henri Harrison Moore, second Dean of the College of the scriptures was born in about May 12, 1880. He was raised in Knox County, TN. Orphaned early, his mother died when he was two and his father, Henry Harrison Moore, died when Isaiah was three. His father was West Indian. He came to Tennessee from North Carolina. As his mother, Amanda Lucinda Devault, was dying at the age of 27she called little Isaiah to her bedside and said, “I want you to be a preacher. As a result Isaiah would say, “So I’ll go through fire to preach the Word of God. She named me for a preacher.”

His father was a Methodist minister. His grandfather had been Bishop J. J. Moore of the A. M. E. Z. Church. His father took his children everywhere he went following the death of his wife, Amanda. One man wanted little Isaiah but his father replied, “I can’t give you that boy. I promised Amanda I wouldn’t separate them.” Following his father’s death the children were taken to the County Home by a neighbor where they stayed a year until an uncle, John Devault, came to the home and got the four year old Isaiah who said about his uncle, “He led me from the poor house to the pulpit.”

Fifteen years later, as the 19 year old Isaiah sat on a porch of a parishioner, the two walked up asking where they could find Isaiah H. H. Moore. Thus the Church of Christ came into life of young Isaiah Moore. But the challenge of denominationalism was not over yet. Rufus Tipton, school teacher, friend, counselor and good Presbyterian who wanted to help his people became a strong influence on Isaiah. With no books available Isaiah and the other students received most of their information by lectures which they recorded on slate then onto paper. They would buy one tablet per year at a cost of a nickel earned by shining shoes. Isaiah Moore became a preacher at 15.

At 19 he built his first church. He was ordained the third Sunday of October, 1901, by Elder W. H. Dunbar who had been converted from the Baptists to the Church of Christ. Instrumental music was not an issue since the churches were too poor to even have a musical instrument. Later Isaiah found that in some Churches of Christ it was considered a “sin” to have a musical instrument in the church house. Moore replied, “We’ll go hand in hand then. Bowser was about fifteen years older than Moore. In 1902 Moore was attending a Presbyterian boarding school in Knoxville, Tennessee when he wrote to Ashley Johnson, President of Johnson Bible College, The two met by appointment in Knoxville. Johnson made a lasting impression on Moore that day by tipping his hat to the young man as a sign of his respect for him. While the Knoxville Presbyterian College taught a Calvinist course of study they made Isaiah Moore a member of its highest Bible Class due to his proficiency in scripture. Brother Johnson made Moore learn Scripture in quantity. That was Isaiah Moore. He was preaching for $5.00 per month. In 1904 Singleton came to Knoxville and brought Isaiah Moore to the preacher training school in Louisville, KY for which he had taught for twenty-seven years.

So, in 1904, Isaiah Moore came to Louisville to enroll in the Christian Bible School headed by A. J. Thompson, a white man. In 1944 Isaiah Moore was ministering in Paris, Kentucky. Sixty seven years ago Isaiah Moore enrolled in the Louisville Christian Seventeen years ago Dr. Moore became the Dean of the College. Let no man at this late hour in history feel sorry for himself because he is poor, black, or neglected or disadvantaged! Is Isaiah Henri Harrison Moore could do it then, anyone else can do it now! Or might we better say that if God can do it through him, He can do it through you. He is dead, you say? “Yet he being dead yet speaketh!” He is speaking in Oklahoma and in Pennsylvania, in Ohio and in North Carolina, in Indiana and Illinois and in Kentucky. He is speaking in Florida and Texas. He is speaking through his many Sons in the Gospel. He cannot be replaced. But he can be reproduced! I imagine that at this moment Isaiah Moor is bending the lord’s ear asking for funds for the College of the Scriptures.

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