April 27: 2015. St. Louis civil rights leader and community activist Laura Ann Moore passed away on April 26, 2015. Moore (born 1945) was a co-founder in St Louis of the Lesbian Alliance in the late 1960s. With others, Moore helped found a rape crisis center and the St. Louis Abused Women’s Support Project.
The group helped organize a state lobbying day to protest when Anita Bryant campaigned in Missouri in 1977 and protested the Miss Universe contest when the event came to St. Louis in 1983. In the early 1970s, Moore and her group successfully challenged the sexually-biased admittance policies of Ranken Technical College.
The school initially admitted two women, including Moore, who went on to open a garage and form the St. Louis Women’s Garage. Joining NOW in the 1970s, Moore became chair of the St. Louis legal committee.
The committee lobbied the city of St. Louis mayor’s office for women’s rights to get funding for women’s initiatives, and to get women appointed to city government. The committee also wrote a booklet that told women what to do in cases of sexual harassment, held protests, and lobbied for abortion rights. She also was an elected delegate to International Women's Year Conference in Houston in 1977.
She was the first woman in St. Louis to serve as a housing inspector, a building inspector, and a multi-discipline inspector for commercial and residential property.
Moore was fired from her job as a building commissioner of Vinita Park when the fact that she was a lesbian made the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
She sued, received a settlement, and became the first "out" LGBT person appointed to the St. Louis Civil Rights Commission (in 1993 by Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr.), and possibly to any public commission or office in the city's history. Moore received her B.A. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Biography Source: Barbara J. Love, Feminists who Changed America, 1963-1975
Image Credit: Gateway Heritage Magazine, Fall 1994 (1973 Laura Moore