Carlos Moore was born Charles George Moore Wedderburn in Cuba in 1942 to Rebecca Winifred Wedderburn and Victor Moore. The fourth of five children, Moore was raised by working class parents who struggled to support him and their other children. During his childhood Moore experienced economic and social hardship which accompanied his parents’ inability to secure regular employment in a racist society. In 1958 when Moore was sixteen years old, his father and step mother sent for him and his siblings to come to New York in order to take advantage of the opportunities for a better life which would be available there.
While Moore was in New York, Castro and his army claimed victory over Bautista which brought renewed hope to poor Cubans everywhere. After living in New York for several years and completing High School, Moore returned to Cuba to work for the Cuban government as a translator for the ministries of Communications and External Affairs. He quickly became disaffected with the Castro regime due to its curtailment of basic rights for all Cubans and racism towards Black Cubans and entered into self imposed exile.
In order to escape Cuba, Moore traveled to Egypt on a cargo ship, where he remained for a year before fleeing the repressive regime there. Moore then traveled to Europe and was denied exile in Italy and Switzerland before being allowed to stay in France on the condition that he arranged repatriation to Cuba. When he refused to return to Cuba, due to fears of imprisonment and/or death the Cuban embassy stripped Moore of his passport. For the next twelve years Moore lived in a state of political limbo as he petitioned for asylum in France. During this time Moore struggled to support himself and his family. He also became involved with the “Afro American Committee in Paris” an organization which organized a rally in support of the revolution in the (former) Belgian Congo where Malcolm X was to be the keynote speaker. When the time for the rally came, Malcolm was denied entry into the country, but Moore was able to conduct a taped interview with Malcolm over the telephone and publish the interview in several magazines. Several weeks later, Malcolm X was assassinated. After years of struggle and harassment by the French secret police Moore is granted asylum and began working as a free lance journalist for Agence France Presse. Shortly thereafter he enrolled in University of Paris-7 to study for his
In 1973 Moore was offered and accepted the post of secretariat of FESTAC (Second World Black Festival of Arts and Culture) in Lagos, Nigeria which was emerging from a civil war. During his time in Nigeria Moore met Fela Kuti and formed a relationship with the famed musician which led to the publication of Kuti’s biography Fela, Fela:This Bitch of a life. Due to his association with Kuti and his activities against the dictatorial regime in Nigeria Moore is dismissed from his position as Secretariat and imprisoned.
In 1975 Moore fled Nigeria and settled in Senegal until 1980. While in Senegal Moore conducted research for his Doctoral thesis which he completed in 1979, however past persecution had taken a toll on his health. In 1980 Moore left Senegal for Paris where he was advised to undergo treatment for a nervous breakdown. Despite his ill health, Moore embarked on a second PhD and began working for Jeune Afrique. In 1987 Moore was instrumental in organizing the “Negritude Afro cultures and Ethnicity in the Americas” conference at Florida International University which featured notable persons such as Maya Angelou, Alex Haley, Aime Cesaire, and Leopold Senghor.
The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 left Cuba in a precarious position, and Moore wrote a formal letter to Fidel Castro warning him that unless he seriously sought to rectify race relations in Cuba, he could face a revolution that would allow U.S. capitalist interests to impose their imperialistic will upon the nation. This letter opened the way for Moore to regain entrance into his birth country. In 1997 Moore returned to the island of this birth for the fist time in 34 years.
11 May 1996 Carlos Moore accepted an appointment as Senior Lecturer in International Relations of Latin America in the Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies which he held until 31 July 2002.
Pichon: a memoir: race and revolution in Castro’s Cuba. Chicago, Ill.: Lawrence Hill Books, c2008
African presence in the Americas. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1995. Co edited with Tanya R. Saunders and Shawna Moore.
Castro, the Blacks and Africa. Los Angeles: Center for African American Studies. University of California, 1988
Fela, Fela : this bitch of a life [translated from French by Shawna Moore]. London: Allison & Busby, 1982