Harold Moody

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Harold Arundel Moody[1] (8 October 1882 – 24 April 1947) was a Jamaican-born physician in London who campaigned against racial prejudice and established the League of Coloured Peoples in 1931 with the support of the Quakers.


Moody was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1882, the son of pharmacist Charles Ernest Moody and his wife Christina Emmeline Ellis.[2] In 1904, he sailed to the United Kingdom to study medicine at King's College London. Having been refused work because of his colour, he started his own medical practice in Peckham, south-east London, in February 1932.[2][3]

In March 1931 Harold Moody formed the League of Coloured Peoples, which was concerned with racial equality and civil rights in Britain and elsewhere in the world.

He also campaigned against racial prejudice in the armed forces, and is credited with overturning the Special Restriction Order (or Coloured Seamen's Act) of 1925, a discriminatory measure that sought to provide subsidies to merchant shipping employing only British nationals and required alien seamen (many of whom had served the United Kingdom during the First World War) to register with their local police. Many black and Asian British nationals had no proof of identity and were made redundant. In 1933 he became involved in the Coloured Men's Institute, founded by Kamal Chunchie as a religious, social and welfare centre for sailors.[2]

A devout Christian, Moody was active in the Congregational Union, the Colonial Missionary Society (of which he was chairman) and later the Christian Endeavour Union (1936).[2]

Family life[edit]

In 1913, Moody married Olive Mable Tranter, a white nurse with whom he worked at the Royal Eye Hospital in London, and they had six children.[4]

Moody's brother Ludlow also studied medicine in London and won the Huxley Prize for physiology at King's. Ludlow married Vera Manley and both returned to the Caribbean. Another brother was the sculptor Ronald Moody. Charles Arundel Moody, Harold's son, became an officer in the British Army, rising to the rank of colonel.


Blue plaque at 164 Queen's Road, Peckham

The house where Moody lived at 164 Queen's Road, Peckham, now has a blue plaque dedicated to him that was erected in 1995 by English Heritage.[5][6]

A short silent animation (by Jason Young) about his married life was produced in 1998, entitled The Story of Dr. Harold Moody.[7]

Moody is named on the list of "100 Great Black Britons".[8]


  1. ^ David A. Vaughan, Negro Victory - Life Story of Dr Harold Moody, London: Independent Press, 1950.
  2. ^ a b c d "Harold Moody", Making Britain, The Open University.
  3. ^ John Simkin, "Harold Moody", Spartacus Educational.
  4. ^ " Harold Moody", Making Britain, The Open University.
  5. ^ "Harold Moody blue plaque in London".
  6. ^ "Moody, Dr Harold (1882–1947)", English Heritage.
  7. ^ "The Story of Dr. Harold Moody (1998)", IMDb.
  8. ^ "Harold Moody", 100 Great Black Britons.

External links[edit]