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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Longtime Recorder friend and historian dies

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Wilma L. Moore had an undeniable love of history, specifically African-American history, and was known throughout the community as “the go-to-source.” 

Moore, 67, a friend and historian of the Recorder, died on April 18.

She was born in Indianapolis to parents William Joseph and Tessie Arlene Gibbs, and had six siblings. Moore graduated from Crispus Attucks High School in 1969 and Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1973 and a masters in library and information science in 1974.

Moore worked at Indiana University Libraries and Indianapolis Public Library. She retired from the Indiana Historical Society after working there 30 years.

Moore served as editor of Black History News and Notes from 1986 to 2007 and was contributing editor of Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History from 2007 to 2017. Moore was a trusted source for researchers, often spending hours upon hours helping others, and a willing collaborator on various projects. She gave presentations, processed collections and dutifully served on numerous committees.

In addition to being a trusted source and valued colleague, Moore was a gifted storyteller.

She received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in 2016. Moore was called a “trailblazer” and “go-to-source” for African-American history. 

“I have spent the past 30 years doing work that I thoroughly enjoy — toiling in the Indiana history vineyard helping others find material for their storyboards,” Moore said upon receiving the award. “I am always surprised by special thank you notes from patrons or when authors acknowledge me in their books. This award is a special bonus. I am humbled and grateful.”

Moore also received the Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 for her extraordinary contributions in the field of history.

Other awards include: 

1997 — Recipient of the Indianapolis YWCA’s Phyllis Wheatley Award

2003 — Culture Advocate Award from the African Unity Festival 

2007 — Inaugural Jasmine Robinson Pioneer Award (Wabash College) 

2015 — Moore was recognized for contributions for the 120th celebration of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper

2003 — February cover of Indianapolis Woman Magazine 

Funeral services will be April 27 at Eastern Star Church, 5750 E. 30th St., where Moore was a member. Calling hours will be 9-11 a.m., with celebration of life service at 11 a.m.

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